Ruth Smeeth: 'Jeremy Corbyn has made us the racist party'

Ruth Smeeth: 'Jeremy Corbyn has made us the racist party'
By: WNG SKY Posted On: December 12, 2019 View: 33

Ruth Smeeth: 'Jeremy Corbyn has made us the racist party'

Jeremy Corbyn's actions on antisemitism have turned Labour into the "racist party", one of its former MPs has said.

Ruth Smeeth, who is expected to lose her Stoke-on-Trent North seat, placed Labour's woes firmly at the feet of the leader.

Speaking to Sky News, ahead of the Labour leader announcing he will step down, she said: "This is an appalling, heart-breaking night for the Labour Party.

"He should have gone many, many, many months ago.

She added: "Jeremy Corbyn's actions on antisemtism have made us the nasty party. We are the racist party."

John McDonnell
Shadow chancellor: The exit poll is 'dramatically bad'

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who earlier admitted his party could be on course for a "dramatically bad" election result, was at the centre of ugly scenes at his Hayes and Harlington count.

He was heckled throughout his victory speech before a scuffle broke out.

More from General Election 2019

As police stepped in, he said: "It is quite clear that there are fears also now for our democracy and the rise of the extreme right.

"But I say now we will organise and we will ensure this type of democracy will reign, and the democratic wishes of our people will be respected, and this sort of extreme right wing violence will not be tolerated within our society."

The broadcasters' exit poll, published at 10pm, suggests the Conservatives have won the general election and Prime Minister Boris Johnson will enjoy a commanding House of Commons majority of 86.

The poll - conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Sky News, the BBC and ITV News - also forecasts Labour are set for their lowest number of seats since 1935.

Mr McDonnell expressed his hope Labour's actual number of seats will "not be as dramatically bad" as the 191 seats estimated by the exit poll.

But his fellow Labour frontbencher, Barry Gardiner, admitted the exit poll was a "devastating blow" and "deeply depressing".

And Dawn Butler, Labour's shadow women and equalities secretary, said: "We really have to reflect quite seriously about where we go and the direction of travel for the Labour Party."

Among the first constituencies to declare their results was Blyth Valley in Northumberland, which added to signs Labour is on course for a hugely disappointing night.

The Conservatives took the seat with a 10% swing from Labour, which had held Blyth Valley since 1950.

Later, Workington - which had taken on symbolic status as a Conservative target seat in the election campaign - was won by the Tories with a similar swing.

The constituency had previously been held by Labour for 97 years out of 100 since its creation.

If the exit poll is correct, it will put Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn under huge pressure to resign.

But Mr McDonnell ruled out replacing his close ally.

"I'm not standing for leader of the Labour Party, I've said that time and time again - either as a temporary or as a permanent," he said.

"That's not what I want to do."

Ken Livingstone, the former London mayor and ex-Labour MP, admitted Mr Corbyn was likely to go.

"It looks like the end for Jeremy, which is disappointing for me since I'm a close ally. I'm sure he'll have to resign tomorrow," he said.

Chi Onwurah
Newcastle announces night's first result

Newcastle Central won the hotly-contested race to become the first constituency to declare their general election result - with Chi Onwurah re-elected as a Labour MP.

The race to become the first seat to declare on election night has traditionally become a North East contest between Newcastle and Sunderland.

From 1992 until 2015, the first result of election night was announced by Sunderland.

However, in 2017, Newcastle Central declared their result first - a feat they repeated on Thursday night.

The Houghton and Sunderland South constituency declared their result around a minute later, where Bridget Phillipson was re-elected a Labour.

However, Labour's vote share was down more than 18% in the constituency.

After the close of polling stations on Thursday night, the prime minister posted on Twitter: "Thank you to everyone across our great country who voted, who volunteered, who stood as candidates. We live in the greatest democracy in the world."

Pound rockets after exit poll

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "I promised @UKLabour would run the biggest people powered campaign our country has ever seen.

"And you, our members and supporters, have done just that.

"You're the heart of our party, and you have campaigned tirelessly to win so we can a build a fairer country. I thank you all."

The Brexit Election on Sky News - the fastest results and in-depth analysis on mobile, TV and radio.

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