It’s only nineteen days since Theresa May called a General Election, and it’s fair to say the campaign has already included a good number of Labour Party gaffs. Considering that the Labour Shadow Cabinet is surely the most incompetent Front Bench that either party has put forward in living memory, this is hardly surprising. However it’s still remarkable, which is why we’ve put together our top five Labour Party gaffs since the General Election was announced. They are, in ascending order of importance:
One: Diane Abbott massively underestimates Labour local election losses
Local elections are traditionally an opportunity for the public to give the governing party a good kicking. It was then unusual, though entirely commendable, that the British people chose instead to use the 4 May elections to direct a few well aimed jabs at the Labour Party. During an interview on the morning of 5 May Diane Abbott, whose unconventional interpretation of maths gets her two mentions on this list, wasn’t quite up to speed with the extent of Labour’s losses. During a Friday morning interview she estimated net seat losses of ‘about 50’, and was then told by the interviewer that the correct figure thus far was 125. Abbott then clarified that ‘last time I looked, we had net losses of 100’, which did literally nothing to clear up the situation.
— ITN Productions News (@ITNPNews) May 5, 2017
Two: Emily Thornberry insults the British public
Appearing on ITV’s ‘Preston on Sunday’, Shadow Foreign Secretary (stop sniggering at the back) Emily Thornberry had an unorthodox explanation for Labour’s polling woes. The public have, apparently, been seduced by Theresa May’s hair. Thornberry commented that ‘It is not good enough for people to simply say, I like Theresa May’s hair or I like that shade of blue’. Ouch! That’s you told British people. Presumably then Labour’s best hope of winning is that May decides to change her hair style before 8 June.
Three: Andy Burnham fails to attend his own Mayoral victory rally
The 4 May local elections were pretty much a disaster for Labour. One of the few silver linings for the party, albeit attached to an enormous black cloud, was that Andy Burnham was elected Mayor of Greater Manchester. Jeremy Corbyn, desperately trying to find some good news on a rotten day, sped North to hold a celebratory rally. The only problem was that Burnham, the man who had actually won the election, was nowhere to be seen. Corbyn’s team told journalists that this was because Burnham had ‘already started working for the people of Manchester’. This arguably wasn’t quite the case, as he was soon spotted drinking in a pub.
Four: John McDonnell addresses Stalin lovers
On 1 May Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell gave a speech to a May Day rally in Central London. The only problem was his audience included a contingent of Stalin supporters, holding portraits of the Soviet mass murderer. Ooops. Not content with this McDonnell then delivered his speech under two flags, one communist and the other supporting the Assad regime in Syria. I’m sure that got the George Galloway vote sown-up, but that’s probably about it. An interesting electoral tactic to say the least.
Five: Diane Abbott wants to employ police for 2p per hour
I’m sure you knew this was coming. There was only one serious contender for the top spot. During an interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott claimed Labour would employ an additional 10,000 police officers for four years, at the cost of ‘about £300,000’. Some bright spark quickly worked out that this would mean paying each officer 2p per hour, assuming that is absolutely no money was spent on training or equipment. And who said Labour was anti-austerity? During a painful three minute period Abbott proceeded to come up with a number of different figures for the cost and number of officers to be employed. No form of words I know can improve on the original, which I urge you to watch here. You almost certainly have already, but I’d advise doing so again.