Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper ‘may run for Labour leader’

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MP Yvette Cooper has said she will decide over Christmas whether to run for the leadership of the Labour party amid mounting from the region’s ousted politicians directed at Jeremy Corbyn.

Mrs Cooper, who saw her majority in Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford slashed from 14,499 to 1,276 the General Election as she lost more than 10,000 votes compared with 2017, said Labour had to change after its worst performance since 1935.

She confirmed she was considering running to be Labour leader to replace Jeremy Corbyn, who last week faced fury from his own MPs and was accused of being a “preening narcissist” by Mary Creagh, who lost her Wakefield seat to the Conservatives.

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Mrs Cooper, who was Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there were “a lot of things to reflect on” for Labour.

Yvette Cooper MP.Yvette Cooper MP.
Yvette Cooper MP.

She added: “I think we do clearly have to change because it hasn’t worked and we’ve got the fewest Labour MPs since 1935 and a big drop in working class support with low income voters choosing the Conservatives even though they didn’t want to and felt let down by the choice that we gave them, so we have to show some humility because we got things wrong.”

Ms Cooper said both Mr Corbyn and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who today makes a speech calling for Labour to change its direction, are “seen as internationalist, not patriots, and we should be able to be both patriotic and outward-looking because that’s what we were in 1945”.

She added: “There are three things we are going to have to do now, and one of those is about recognising that we cannot become a party that is concentrated in cities, with our support increasingly concentrated in diverse young areas, while older voters in towns think we aren’t listening to them.”

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Asked if she would consider running for leader, she said: “The contest doesn’t start until January. I will decide over Christmas what I am going to do, we have just had a hard local campaign.

“I have stood before but the party membership has changed a lot.

“I am going to reflect over Christmas, the issue is what kind of party we have now as well as what kind of party we need to become.”