Great Britain

'Not realistic!' BBC host Stayt attacks Thornberry for still 'promising Earth' to voters

The shadow foreign secretary was confronted on her party's disastrous defeat at the general election last week as she put herself forward to replace Jeremy Corbyn. But when questioned about the Labour Party manifesto - which saw traditional Labour voters leave the party for the first time in decades - she refused to accept it was full of unrealistic promises. BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt asked: “You don’t agree with anything in the manifesto.

“Do you think it was right to offer free broadband to everyone?”

Ms Thornberry began by saying she has "no problem with free broadband" before she was interrupted by the BBC host.

He blasted: “It wasn’t realistic! That was one of the problems, wasn’t it?

“A lot of people thought it wasn’t realistic.

“So you got to the point, possibly in desperation, when you were just promising the Earth and people saw that.

“And if you’re still sitting now, hoping to be the Labour Party leader, and still saying you got all of that right, people might think that’s not looking good.”

READ MORE: Emily Thornberry announces Labour leadership bid 

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Emily Thornberry refuses to give up on 'unrealistic' Labour manifesto (Image: BBC)

emily thornberry labour manifesto bbc breakfast interview

Emily Thornberry claims she has 'no problems' with the Labour manifesto (Image: BBC)

Ms Thornberry replied: “I think if people are listening to me they’ll know that’s not what I’m saying.

“What I’m saying is that there’s nothing wrong with any of the individual promises in the manifesto. 

“Nobody can say, I don’t think anyone in the Labour Party can say that there was anything in the manifesto that was wrong.

“But what we needed to do was we needed to have clearer priorities and we needed to say this is a problem, we needed to make sure we were out there discussing what the problem was, showing that it was a problem and then - once we laid the ground for that - to say you know what? The Labour party has got an answer to that.

“It’s that sort of thing that we need to do.”

On Wednesday, the Labour frontbencher announced she will be running to replace Jeremy Corbyn when the Labour leadership contest will open next year. 

The shadow foreign secretary hit out at Mr Corbyn for bowing to pressure to hold a public vote in the run-up to Christmas, insisting he should have instead focused his energies on securing a referendum on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. 

Announcing her decision to throw her name in the hat, the 59-year-old used her record as Mr Johnson’s opponent, when he served as foreign secretary, as a means to whip up support for her bid.

Writing in the Guardian, Ms Thornberry said she pressured Mr Corbyn to vote against holding the election, saying the need to break the Brexit deadlock was not a good enough reason to give the Tories another five years in power. 

She wrote: “I wrote to the leader’s office warning it would be ‘an act of catastrophic political folly’ to vote for the election, and explained exactly why we should not go along with it. 

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Brexit timeline: what happens next? (Image: EXPRESS)

“I argued that the single issue of Brexit should not be enough to give Johnson a five-year mandate to enact his agenda on every issue.

“Instead, I said we should insist on a referendum on his proposed deal, to get the issue of Brexit out of the way before any general election.”

The shadow cabinet member added: “So when the Labour leadership contest begins, whoever is standing – and I hope to be one of the candidates – the first question shouldn’t be about their position on Brexit, or where they live in our country."

The MP for Islington South and Finsbury revealed her intentions to secure the top job after Mr Corbyn announced last week he would step down in light of Labour’s devastating election performance. 

She blasted Mr Corbyn for leading the opposition party’s campaign “with no clear position” on Brexit, an issue which dominated the snap election. 

She also took aim at those who ran the party’s campaign, saying they were blindsided by the poor results clearly foreseen by many Labour volunteers, councillors and candidates.