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Alastair Campbell: ‘I’d like to go back to Labour’ | Politics News



Former 10 Downing Street spin doctor Alastair Campbell has revealed he would like to re-join the Labour Party.

Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Mr Campbell said he would like to go back if he is asked, despite his expulsion just three months ago.

His automatic exclusion from the party came after he admitted voting for the Liberal Democrats in the European elections over Labour’s position on Brexit.

REDCAR, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 24:  Campaign signs showing support for the Liberal Democrat candidate Josh Mason are seen outside homes on April 24, 2015 in Redcar, England. The Liberal Democrats currently hold the seat after taking control from Labour in the last election. Labour have mounted a strong campaign to try and win the seat back ahead of the General Election which takes place on May 7.  (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
He voted for the Lib Dems in the Euro elections

While he initially appealed the decision, he later wrote to Jeremy Corbyn stating: “I no longer wish to be in the party”.

Labour has since changed its policy to call for a second referendum on any EU divorce deal.

He told Sky News: “I hope the Labour Party rediscovers a sense of purpose.

“I’ve had my difficulties with the Labour Party and the European elections, but I do think we’re in a situation where unless Brexit is resolved on its own in a final say referendum, I don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever of the country coming back together again.

“I’m not convinced that a general election is going to resolve anything.”

In a wide-ranging talk with James Graham – the screenwriter of TV drama Brexit: The Uncivil War – Mr Campbell called Brexit the “defining issue of our time and a total disaster”, telling the audience “we’re living through a national drama”.

The vocal Remain campaigner said Labour have been “in denial” since the last general election, wrongly believing it did “very, very well”.

Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn looks on, on the third day of the Labour party conference in Liverpool, north west England on September 25, 2018. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for the party’s Brexit position

Mr Campbell went on to say he believes the party needs to “build up a coalition” in order to “build votes”.

He elaborated: “This idea that these left-wing northern seats want a more liberal, Corbynista approach to politics is wrong. They want policies that are tough on crime and a strong defence. It’s not as simple as the caricatures.”

As for the prospect of a general election, Campbell is pulling no punches on Mr Corbyn’s chances.

“You’ve got to live in the real world. I’m not saying the polling tells you everything, but it tells you something.

“The Labour Party’s not remotely in an election winning position at the moment and that’s really alarming.”

A staff member carries ballot boxes at a counting centre in Islington, London, on June 8, 2017, after the polls closed in Britain's general election. Prime Minister Theresa May is poised to win Britain's snap election but lose her parliamentary majority, a shock exit poll suggested on June 8, in what would be a major blow for her leadership as Brexit talks loom.
Mr Campbell said an election would not resolve anything

When it comes to politics inspiring art and feeding into our TV content, Mr Campbell thinks we can learn a thing or two from the US.

He said: “You look at Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Matteo Salvini in Italy, and Putin even – the way he projects himself – there’s an awful lot in our politics that’s wide open for satire. But actually, there isn’t as much satire as I think there should be.

“Where’s the new Spitting Image? Why isn’t Rory Bremner on the TV all the time. Or whoever Rory Bremner’s successors in that world might be?

“I think in a funny sort of way, we’ve become too respectful of politics – that seems to me to be demanding less respect. So, I think there should be more satire not less.

“America leads the way in political satire.”

Back view of a relaxed family watching TV on sofa in the living room.
The former Number 10 spin doctor said there was lots in politics ‘open to satire’

While British TV may have disappointed Mr Campbell comedically, it has made up for it in factual entertainment.

He said the BBC Two show Thatcher: A Very British Revolution is “one of his favourite bits of television this year”.

He also said the drama shines a new light on the nation’s current mindset.

“What was interesting about that was not just to show how much the country’s changed and to think how have the Tories gone from that to where they are now, and how has the Labour Party gone from what it was then to what it is now, but also to remember just how much visceral anger there was at the time and how it was being expressed – up to an including quite a lot of violence.

“Now, with something like Brexit, it’s actually quite becalmed given how angry an awful lot of people are.”

The Edinburgh TV Festival runs from 21 – 23 August.

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