Labour has mountain to climb to win next election, Angela Rayner admits


Labour’s deputy leader has said the party has a mountain to climb to win the next general election but is offering the country the leadership it needs amid the coronavirus crisis.

Angela Rayner accused the Government of “serial incompetence” which is “holding Britain back” in its handling of the pandemic.

Ms Rayner will make a keynote speech on Sunday to Labour Connected – a four-day online event in place of the party’s annual conference, which was cancelled because of coronavirus.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds will also speak at the event next week.

Ahead of her address, Ms Rayner said: “Over the next four days, the Labour Party will show what we can achieve with a new leadership for our party and for our country.

“At this time of national crisis, we are offering the country the leadership it needs.

“We will act in the best interests of the British people, and in our shared mission to defeat this terrible virus.

“And we will call this failing Conservative Government out for its serial incompetence that is holding Britain back.”

She added: “We know that we have a mountain to climb to win the next election but we are determined to climb it.

“We must – and we will – restore the British people’s trust in Labour as a party of government.”

She said while the coronavirus crisis has “changed everything for all of us, for our country and for our party” it has not changed the party’s values.

“And it is those values of fairness, compassion that are seeing our country through this crisis,” she said.

“These are our values, Labour values, and they must be the foundation of our country’s recovery.

“Out of this crisis, we can build a better, fairer, more equal society”.

In December, the party suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935.

Seats that had been Labour for generations turned blue as the party’s hitherto impregnable “red wall” crumbled in the face of the Tory advance.