Jeremy Corbyn must take hit if Labour lose General Election: Emma Reynolds
Jeremy Corbyn must 'take the hit' and step down as Labour leader if the party tastes defeat in the General Election, a Black Country MP has said.
Emma Reynolds says Mr Corbyn would be the main reason behind a Labour loss and has urged him to follow the path of Ed Miliband, who stood down immediately following the Tory victory in the 2015 election.
"I think any leader who loses an election should leave," said Ms Reynolds, who has launched her campaign to defend the Wolverhampton North East seat she has held for Labour since 2010.
"Ed Miliband did the right thing in 2015 and I think Jeremy Corbyn will have to take the hit if we lose this election.
"He will have to recognise that he had a lot to do with it. You can't keep blaming other people."
Labour is currently up to 20 points behind the Conservatives in the polls and has been blighted by in-fighting for the last 18 months, with the majority of MPs – including Ms Reynolds – against Mr Corbyn.
However, she says the result of the General Election is 'no foregone conclusion', and has vowed to campaign on her 'strong track record' on a local level as she bids to defend her 5,495 majority.
"I'm focusing on my own seat and hoping to build on the hard work that I have already done in the constituency," she said.
"Some people will naturally vote on the party brand, but I am happy to stand on my record in this constituency."
Ms Reynolds cites her efforts in pushing for a new train station for Wolverhampton and working to get Jaguar Land Rover to increase its presence in the city as major achievements. She said she wants her campaign to focus on key issues including schools funding and the NHS.
The Brexit Select Committee member has also vowed to push for changes to immigration policy in light of the EU referendum result, and has proposed a two-tier system that prioritises skilled foreign workers with job offers in the UK.
"This election is not solely about Brexit, but it is obviously a major talking point," she said. "A large number of my constituents voted to leave the EU and I respect that decision. I am committed to getting the best deal for them and will continue to hold the Government to account as we enter the negotiation phase."
Ms Reynolds has criticised Theresa May for calling the snap General Election, which she says was to blow Labour out of the water.
"Her argument that she wants a mandate to put her in a stronger bargaining position with the EU does not stand up to scrutiny, particularly when you consider she has been getting 300-plus majorities in the Commons for every vote on Brexit," she said.
"I don't know what the turnout is likely to be, but there is a real danger that people will start to get election fatigue."
On a personal level, Ms Reynolds admits that the election could not have come at a worse time, with the Prime Minister's announcement just days after she had given birth to her first child.
"There is no doubt that it caught us off guard," said Ms Reynolds, who has already taken baby Theo out delivering campaign leaflets.
"And it gives us very little time to get prepared. But there is an upside to a short campaign, in that it focuses the mind and everyone on the team realises that things need to be done immediately. There can't be any delay."
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