N. Ireland Politics

General election 2019: Corbyn 'out of touch with ordinary people'

Conor McGinn Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Conor McGinn says Labour must reconnect with voters in its traditional heartlands

A Northern Ireland-born Labour MP has said poor leadership of his party left it without a connection to working class people, leading to its worst general election result in decades.

Conor McGinn was re-elected in St Helens North in England but lost about a third of the votes he won in 2017.

He said his party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership was seen as "out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people".

"The Labour Party over the last number of years has spoken only to itself."

In Thursday's election, the Conservatives swept Labour aside in its traditional heartlands - it was Labour's worst election performance since the 1930s.

Many people in those areas voted for the Tories for the first time, giving Boris Johnson a Commons majority of 80 - his party's largest since 1987.

Jeremy Corbyn said he did "everything he could" to get Labour into power but would stand down when a new leader is selected, most likely in the early part of next year.

Mr McGinn, originally from Camlough in County Armagh, said Mr Corbyn's unpopularity among voters was clear on the doorsteps during the election campaign.

The party must apologise to working class people for its mistakes, he added.

"[Labour] has been penetrated by what I would call hobbyists who are in politics because they enjoy it and... the pursuit of left-wing ideological purity.

"But they're not interested in improving people's lives because the only way you can do that is by being in power."

Asked whether he had interest in a leadership role, he said he wanted to "play my part in rebuilding the Labour Party... to win an election again".

But he added: "I'm still a relatively new MP - it might feel like a political era but I've only been an MP for four-and-a-half years through three elections."

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