UK Politics

Jeremy Corbyn not learning from Miliband defeat - Livermore

Baron Livermore

Ed Miliband's general election chief has warned that Jeremy Corbyn is "failing to learn the lessons of why Labour lost in 2015".

Lord Livermore told BBC Radio 4's World at One economic competence and leadership were key issues for voters.

But the party was "going backwards" in both of those areas under Mr Corbyn.

If the new Labour leader does not change course the party "will lose in 2020", Livermore told the BBC's Martha Kearney.

Spencer Livermore was Labour's election strategy chief in 2001 and 2005 before going on to be Gordon Brown's director of strategy in Downing Street. He left politics for a job in advertising in 2008 before returning to run Labour's 2015 election campaign. He was made a life peer last month.

'Heavy defeat'

He told the World at One: "We are now further away from power then we were on 8 May.

"I had hoped during the (Labour) leadership election that - after such a heavy defeat - it would have produced a verdict about whether you could ever win an election from a 'soft left' position.

"Incredibly, now we are in a position where we are discussing about whether we can win in a 'hard' left position.

Image copyright PA

"If you genuinely reflect at the 2015 election and why we lost it is impossible to conclude that we could win from that position.

"On the fundamental issues we are going backwards rather than forwards.

"On the economy and economic competence I don't see any progress being made.

"On the fundamental qualities that make someone a potential prime minister, I don't think he is measuring up to those qualities and it feels like the project is narrower than ever before.

"There is a responsibility on the moderate part of the Labour Party firstly to help Mr Corbyn to learn the lessons on why we lost and help the party to move forwards on the fundamental issues."

'Ed stone'

Livermore also spoke about the mood at the top of Labour as the election results began to come in, saying "it was a very difficult night for all of us".

"Although we knew it would be close, we expected to be more in contention than we turned out to be.

"Our internal polling was pretty much what the external polls were saying; we thought it would be pretty close.

"I don't think any of us expected to win outright. We hadn't taken the difficult decisions early on in the Parliament on economy and welfare."

He added: "Working on four election campaigns, it's becoming increasingly obvious to me that elections are won and lost in the opening weeks and months of a Parliament. I think everyone would look back at the 2015 campaign - we would all say we were wrong on the key fundamentals."

He also addressed the now notorious "Ed stone" - the stone tablet carved with Labour policies that Mr Miliband unveiled during the campaign.

"I think we can all agree now that the 'Ed stone' was a very bad idea, it was a mistake.

"But let's not make the mistake now that it had any impact on why we lost the election a week later - it's about those three key factors; leadership, economy and welfare."