John McDonnell today said he and Jeremy Corbyn will quit as shadow chancellor and Labour leader if the party loses the next general election.
Mr McDonnell said he ‘can’t see’ how the two long-term political allies could remain at the top of the party if Labour does not form the next government.
The shadow chancellor insisted Labour can win a majority at a snap poll which many people in Westminster believe will take place before the end of the year.
But his admission that he and Mr Corbyn would likely step down if they fall short of securing the keys to Downing Street is likely to send a shockwave through the party’s rank and file.
Meanwhile, Mr McDonnell has also insisted that Labour will not do any deals with other parties to secure power if there is a hung Parliament.
He said in the scenario that Labour ended up with the most seats in the House of Commons but was short of a majority the party would try to govern in a minority administration.
If other parties then refused to back Mr Corbyn’s programme for government there would have to be another general election, Mr McDonnell said.
John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, pictured together at Labour conference in Brighton last month, would both quit if the party loses the next election, the shadow chancellor suggested today
Mr Corbyn, pictured in Northampton yesterday, propelled Labour to a better-than-expected set of results in 2017 but the party still fell far short of winning power
The shadow chancellor made the remarks in a wide-ranging interview with Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, for GQ magazine.
Asked if it would be possible for Mr Corbyn to stay on if he lost another election, Mr McDonnell replied: ‘I can’t see… I think it is the same for my own personal position, I can’t see so.
‘What we’d do is as the tradition, which is have an election for a new leader.
‘I’m still of the view now that whoever comes after Jeremy has got to be a woman. We’ve got to have a woman leader.
‘If you look at the new youngsters that have come through, they are fantastic.’
Failure to win an election is often terminal for the leaders of the UK’s main political parties.
Mr Corbyn did not face widespread calls to quit in the wake of the 2017 general election after Labour secured a much-higher-than-expected 40 per cent of the overall vote, just shy of Theresa May’s 42.4 per cent of the vote.
Mr Corbyn has twice blocked attempts by Boris Johnson to trigger an early election but has said that once a No Deal Brexit has been ruled out he will allow the PM to go to the country.
Mr McDonnell told Mr Campbell he believed Labour can win a majority as he rejected the suggestion that the party could be forced to work with the Lib Dems or SNP in order to form a government.
He said: ‘Well, I think we can win a majority, but if we go into a minority government situation, there will be no deals, we’ll just lay out our programme and they either support it or they don’t.
‘If they don’t support it we’ll go back to the country and it will be interesting, if they did, to see how they argue against a real living wage, investment in public services, restoration of trade union rights, tackling climate change. How can they argue against that?’
Mr McDonnell also said that his preference remained to hold a general election before a second Brexit referendum.
However, he suggested he would be perfectly happy with a referendum being held first.
He said: ‘If it was a general election first or a referendum first, it doesn’t matter.’
Source : Mail Online