QUESTION TIME: '˜Labour will win next general election,' Chesterfield audience hears
Labour MP Emily Thornberry has declared her party will win the next general election.
The shadow foreign secretary made the comment on Question Time, which was recorded at the showpiece Winding Wheel in Chesterfield last night and later aired on BBC One.
Host David Dimbleby described the town as ‘great’ and said: “It’s the first time we have been in Chesterfield but I am in no doubt we will be coming back quite soon.”
‘Labour civil war’
Mrs Thornberry was joined on the panel by Liz Truss, a Conservative MP and chief secretary to the treasury, Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nesrine Malik, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper, and Iain Dale, a presenter on LBC.
“As long as we remain united behind a leader on a radical manifesto, we will win the next election,” said Mrs Thornberry.
“We will show that there is hope out there and there is another way, it does not have to be like this.
“When the next election is called, we are going to win, we are going to win.”
But Mr Cable suggested Labour was in the midst of a ‘civil war’ and the ‘extreme-Left had taken over’.
He said: “A large number of Labour MPs now publicly disown their own leader.
“If there was any kind of political logic, they would leave.
“They are fundamentally incompatible, they have fundamentally different values and ideologies.”
Mrs Truss agreed: “When I look across to the opposition benches, I see people constantly eye-rolling, sighing and I just say, ‘file the divorce papers, for God’s sake’.”
Mr Dale claimed that the Labour Party was split into ‘at least two, if not three or four’ while Ms Malik said: “It’s really painful to see this fight because the Conservatives need an effective opposition.”
The panel discussed the Windrush scandal, which has seen thousands of UK residents denied basic rights after being falsely identified as illegal immigrants.
Mrs Thornberry raised the case of Junior Green, a Chesterfield man who returned to Jamaica to see his dying mum but was refused entry back into the UK despite living in the country for 60 years.
She said: “The Windrush generation are suffering because of the callousness and incompetence of this Government.
“He (Junior Green) missed his mother’s funeral – how callous is that?”
Mrs Truss said: “Clearly the situation is incredibly distressing for those people of the Windrush generation – we’ve all seen the stories and we are very, very sorry for what has happened.
“We have made a mistake as a Government – the home sceretary has apologised, the prime minister has apologised – and we want to do all we can to put it right.”
Mr Cable added: “I think one of the good things to come out of this is the outpouring of genuine decency from the public and outrage that this has happened.
“Of course immigration needs to be managed and controlled but it’s got to be done in a proportionate and humane way – at the moment it isn’t.”
The panel also discussed the recent air strikes in Syria and knife crime.
‘Very discerning audience’
On social media, some people said they did not hear many Derbyshire accents in the audience and voiced disappointment that there were no panellists from the north.
Commenting on Twitter, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins said: “A very discerning audience from Chesterfield on Question Time.
“Some dead good contributions.
“Some others I didn’t agree with, of course, but pretty good all in all.”
Mr Perkins, who saw presenter Mr Dimbleby on the train from London, said: “Apparently they (Question Time producers) don’t want local MPs on the panel in case it turns into a ‘you never fixed my aunty’s fence’ kind of thing.”