At least Labour has avoided local election wipeouts, says John McDonnell

Written by Rod Muir on 5 May 2017 in Diary

The shadow chancellor said things will get better when more people see 'the real Jeremy Corbyn' on TV.

Jeremy Corbyn’s chief ally has said at least Labour was not "wiped out" as some expected in the local elections.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell suggested that support for Labour would pick up as the general election gets closer and Corbyn gets more TV airtime.

The Conservatives gained control of five councils and Labour lost two in the first sets of results from the local and mayoral elections.

Labour lost control of Blaenau Gwent and Bridgend. But there was some comfort for Labour in Doncaster, where mayoral candidate Ros Jones won on the first round of voting, and the party extended its majority in Swansea and held onto Cardiff.

McDonnell told Sky News: "Well, it’s mixed results definitely. It’s been a tough night. There have been some disappointments. There hasn’t been a wipeout in some areas that some of the polls were predicting.

"If you look in Doncaster, we won the mayoral on the first ballot, which was very good. In West of England, where people never gave us much of a hope, we came within 5,000 votes of winning that. That was a good result. And in Wales, where again there were predictions of a wipeout, and where Theresa May went down to campaign in Newport, we held on to Newport.

"Where we’ve lost in Wales is where we picked up seats from the independents in both Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent. They’ve reverted to independents."



McDonnell suggested that support for Labour would pick up once the manifesto is published.

"The manifestoes from all the parties will be published in the next couple of weeks and I think you will see the support for our policies is incredibly strong and we will translate that into support for the party," he said.

He also predicted that voters would get behind Jeremy Corbyn as the general election campaign progressed and the Labour leader appeared on TV more frequently.

"As Jeremy gets more airtime, I think people are beginning to see the real Jeremy Corbyn’s character emerge and be in support...

"Now we are in the general election campaign, and the media are forced to give some balance, the televised broadcast media, I think what you are seeing is that we are picking up support, and as Jeremy gets more media time, people are seeing the real character of the man, this decent, honest, strong leader, in terms of principles and how to go forward."



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