Emily Thornberry joined BBC Breakfast hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Muchetty via a live video link this morning to discuss her role in the Labour party and her running to take over from Jeremy Corbyn as the new Labour leader. But Charlie was forced to ask her what was so funny when she was questioned as to who she would keep in office if she was in power.
Stayt began: “Looking forwards, a lot of people think that Jeremy Corbyn is surrounded by a group of people who have protected him from the outside world of what the general public think and that’s the way the general election vote turned out, do you accept that there is a problem right at the heart of the party?”
Thornberry explained: “I believe Jeremy was let down by the advisers that he had, I think -”
Stayt interrupted: “Who are still there.”
She continued: “Who are still there, so what we’ve seen is that there have been a number of letters go out to staff throughout Southside, to people in the leaders office, the people who advised the Shadow Cabinet including my own staff, who have been told they may be made redundant, but those who made the decision the strategic decisions before and during the General Election it looks like their jobs are not on the line and that seems to me to be wrong.”
Ms Thornberry sparked frustration as she laughed as Stayt asked: “So have you got a list of people that you are going to get rid of?”
He added: “I don’t understand why that’s funny because a lot of people think that’s what has to happen.
“If you want to make some kind of clean break from the past and I’m not even sure if you’re saying that you need to get rid of people so do you have a list?”
Thornberry explained: “What happens when a new leader is elected, it will be up to her to decide who is in the leaders office and who will be advising her so whoever is elected it will be up to her to decide who their advisers are that’s how it works.”
Stayt interrupted: “So expect sacking if Emily Thornberry becomes leader of the labour party it’s as simple as that.”
Thornberry chipped in: “I think expect us to continue to be the party that we are to continue to have the values that we do but to be led by someone who will make timely decisions and strong decisions.
“And who will take Boris Johnson on at the dispatch box and who will think through in a logical way where it is that we are going and what it is we are trying to do.
“For example you’ve been the Democrats taking on President Trump and getting as far as they have with impeachment, that is because they have had a clear strategy and they have worked together.
“It’s that sort of thing you need to do in opposition now I’m not saying that we are going to impeach Boris Johnson before you start saying that but, we need to be able to take Boris Johnson on and be clear about how we hold him to account and where it is that we are going as a party.”
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Stayt interrupted again: “Many observers are saying that the potential candidate not declared as you are at this stage Rebecca Long Bailey, who a lot of people see as closet to Jeremy Corbyn’s in terms of politics and the way they see the party that she is the front runner.
“Do you think it would be a mistake for the party to stick with someone who has the principles that Jeremy Corbyn had?”
Thornberry explained: ”I think in the end you know when you look at principles and you look at politics.
“Let’s look at the manifesto, the truth of the matter is that the manifesto was a unifying document and when it comes to the politics we all agree.
“It is a question of how do we get ourselves into power in order to be able to implement that I believe that I’m a bridge from where we are to getting us into power.”
Stayt interrupted once again: “You got to the point where you were promising the earth, and people saw that and if you’re still sitting here now hoping to be the labour party leader and still saying you got all of that right then people might think that that’s not looking good.”
Thornberry said: “But I think if people are listening to me they’ll know that’s not what I’m saying, what I’m saying is there isn’t anything wrong with any of the individual promises in the manifesto.”
BBC Breakfast continues on BBC at 6am.