Labour leadership: Chuka Umunna says party must 'accept the result' if Jeremy Corbyn wins

Moderniser says Labour's right wing must 'show solidarity' whatever the result

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Indy Politics

One of Labour’s leading modernisers has held out an olive branch to Jeremy Corbyn, calling for the right of the party to “accept the result” of the contest and “support our new leader” whoever wins.

In a marked change of tone, Chuka Umunna has said that Labour needed to show “solidarity” no matter who won the leadership and said New Labour supporters could not “dismiss out of hand” the views of the left.




Significantly, sources close to the shadow Business Secretary did not rule out taking a job in a Corbyn-led front bench. They added that it was “unlikely”, but there “might be a conversation to be had” if Mr Corbyn modified his position in areas such as Britain’s membership of Nato and the replacement of Trident.

Mr Umunna’s comments, in a speech to a conference, are in marked contrast to his position a month ago when he said Mr Corbyn’s views were not “a politics that can win” and accused his party of “behaving like a petulant child”. They reflect a growing realisation that the veteran left-winger is now unlikely to be stopped – as well as a reassessment of how the right of the party should deal with his leadership.

“Solidarity is key,” Mr Umunna told the Policy Network think-tank. “This is why we must accept the result of our contest when it comes and support our new leader in developing an agenda that can return Labour to office.”

Mr Umunna said the right of the party also needed to acknowledge that one of the “huge weaknesses of New Labour” was that it “allowed itself to be characterised as an elite project with wide popular support but it did not build a base for its support within the party across the country or develop leaders from the communities it represented”.