Posted on

Alberta under heat warning for August long weekend

It’s going to be a scorcher across almost all of Alberta this August long weekend.

Environment Canada issued heat warnings Friday afternoon for almost the entire province, with the exception of Banff National Park and mountain areas to the south.

“A strong ridge of high pressure will bring above average heat for the long weekend,” Global Edmonton meteorologist Jesse Beyer said.

After a brief bit of relief on Thursday and Friday following several days of record-breaking temperatures, Environment Canada said hot daytime and overnight temperatures are expected to return Saturday and will persist through the weekend.

“Edmonton will be back into the 30 C [range] for most of the long weekend,” Beyer said.

Story continues below advertisement

Southern Alberta will see temperatures a few degrees higher than central and northern Alberta, but overall for the next three days, daytime temperatures are set to reach the high 20s to low 30s combined with overnight lows near 14 to 16 C. Temperatures are expected to return to seasonal numbers early next week.

Read more:
Heat warnings continue for B.C.’s Southern Interior, 40 C forecast for Grand Forks

New challenges in the heat as Edmonton nears 30 degrees Tuesday

New challenges in the heat as Edmonton nears 30 degrees Tuesday

People are advised to take the following precautions to protect themselves, their families and their neighbours:

  • Consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day
  • Take frequent breaks from the heat, spending time in cooled indoor spaces where possible
  • Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated
  • Check for your children or pets before you exit your vehicle. Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle, for any length of time
  • Monitor for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, such as high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting and unconsciousness.

“Make sure to plan outdoor activities accordingly,” Beyer said.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
COVID-19 is impacting ways Canadians can ‘beat the heat’

Environment Canada said special attention may be needed when it comes to people who are more susceptible to heat such as infants, children, seniors, and those with pre-existing lung, heart, kidney, nervous system, mental health or diabetic conditions, outdoor workers and those who are socially isolated.

Heat warnings are issued when very high temperatures are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Source link

Posted on

Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach reopens this weekend

Clown fish and sea anemones no longer need be seen only in “Finding Nemo.” Visitors can again view the sea creatures in person at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific.

After closing for nearly three months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the aquarium will reopen to members beginning at 10:45 a.m. Friday and again at 9 a.m. Saturday. On Sunday, the aquarium will reopen to the public at 9 a.m., according to its website.

A peaceful trip to the aquarium may be the antithesis of a strenuous workout at the gym — another sector of the Los Angeles economy that is reopening Friday — but aquarium officials think it may be just what’s needed after the stay-at-home order that’s been in place since mid-March.

“The aquarium is a very tranquil place, and watching the animals in the exhibits can be very relaxing,” spokeswoman Claire Atkinson said. “It’s also a place where families come for escape.”

Visits will be by reservation only, and capacity will be limited. While the aquarium can accommodate between 10,000 and 13,000 people, it will allow only about a quarter of that inside each day.

Atkinson said the reservations for Friday were topping out at about 800 to 1,000.

Beginning next week, regular hours will be 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Guests must wear masks, maintain social distance and travel in groups of six or fewer people. Visitors’ temperatures will be checked prior to their entrance, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the aquarium.

To prevent potential spread of the coronavirus, several programs are on hiatus, including animal meet-and-greets and behind-the-scenes tours. In addition, the Northern Pacific touch lab, horseshoe crab touch lab and Shark Lagoon children’s play area are all closed, officials said.

Though some fan favorites, including mascot appearances, won’t be available, a reimagined coral reef exhibit will debut. Sea enthusiasts can take a “virtual dive” into the Honda Pacific Visions Theater and meet new residents, including a green sea turtle, a red-footed booby and flashlight fish.

“Flashlight fish have glowing organs underneath their eyes that are full of bioluminescent bacteria,” said Atkinson, who finds the fish particularly enthralling. They “have sort of a flap so they can turn the organ around so it flickers on and off.”

Source link

Posted on

Injured vets waiting twice as long as promised to learn if they qualify for aid

Injured Canadian veterans are being forced to wait on average twice as long as promised to find out whether they qualify for financial help from the government, even as the backlog of unprocessed applications for assistance continues to grow.

Veterans are told the vast majority will know within 16 weeks whether they qualify for compensation and assistance for service-related injuries after filing an application with the federal government.

Yet the average wait time at the end of April was 34.5 weeks — an increase of nearly two weeks since the start of the year and more than double what has been promised

Veterans Affairs did not say how much the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to the problem. The department has said officials are continuing to process applications while working at home due to the crisis.

But the federal government has long been accused of causing added frustration and stress to many injured veterans because of the growing wait times, which have in turn contributed to a growing backlog of requests for help.

More than 46,200 applications were in the backlog at the end of December, according to Veterans Affairs. That represented an increase of 1,600 from September and 6,000 from March.

The number, which is expected to only increase due to the pandemic, includes more than 20,000 applications that the department says are “incomplete” and awaiting further information.

Veterans’ advocacy groups in recent months have been asking the Liberal government to automatically approve all applications for assistance from injured ex-soldiers and conduct an audit after the fact to catch any illegitimate claims.

They have specifically said many veterans are facing a hard time collecting all the necessary information due to various lockdowns, and noted such an approach has been adopted for some of the federal emergency programs set up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government has so far resisted such calls.

Then-veterans ombudsman Guy Parent blasted the federal government for the wait times and backlog in September 2018, at which point the average turnaround time for disability-benefits applications was between 23 and 29 weeks.

“Now is the time to ensure that the planning and resources required to deliver disability benefits, both equitably and in a timely manner, are in place,” the ombudsman’s report said.

“Lengthy turnaround times for disability benefit decisions is about more than monetary compensation for pain and suffering. Many applicants have unmet health needs that can be exacerbated by waiting for adequate treatment.”

The federal government actually considered in 2018 whether to extend the 16-week target, saying it wanted to provide veterans with a more “realistic” idea of when their application would be processed.

But it abandoned the controversial plan last year following criticism that Veterans Affairs was trying to move its own goalposts.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.

Source link

Posted on

Trump promised a big announcement. Then he read off a long list of names.

“Now, we have a list of people that I’ll be speaking to over the next very short period of time, in many cases, tomorrow,” Trump said. “We have a list of different industries that I’ll be discussing by, meeting by telephone, because we don’t want people traveling right now.”

Trump read off names of just about every leading corporation in America — all of whom he said would advise the administration in the coming weeks about how to reopen the economy from its coronavirus-induced shutdown.

After the president concluded his news briefing, the White House released a list of nearly 200 corporate executives, faith leaders and thought leaders broken out by sector in what the announcement called “Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups.”

“These bipartisan groups of American leaders will work together with the White House to chart the path forward toward a future of unparalleled American prosperity,” the statement said. “The health and wealth of America is the primary goal, and these groups will produce a more independent, self-sufficient, and resilient Nation.”

At no point did Trump or the White House explain the way the committees would work, or the types of suggestions they sought or the benchmarks the White House would use to determine whether it was safe to reopen shuttered businesses, send children back to school, reopen stadiums or resume work in offices.

Trump also did not indicate who would lead the effort emanating from the various industry groups from the White House; on Monday, the councils had seemed like a potential new project for chief of staff Mark Meadows. Throughout the past week there were also confusing signals about the involvement of senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The back-and-forth deliberations over the “Opening Our Country Council,” as Trump called it at one point last week, laid bare for the American public the way decisions often are made in the Trump White House — through power struggles, the loose and very public airing of possible ideas and then the president making adjustments on the fly with a goal of having a big announcement.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Tuesday the president would likely make an announcement later this week on when and how he intended to reopen the economy, a choice Trump has called one of the toughest decisions of his presidency.

Inside the White House, aides have been zeroing in on the estimates from the nonpartisan Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which show the U.S. is now past its peak outbreak and estimates that hospitalizations related to Covid-19 will start to rapidly decline beginning in late April.

Aides are reluctant to identify May 1 as a target date given how things panned out last time — when Trump identified Easter as his target and then had to walk it back — but the president and vice president do think May is a realistic timeline for some parts of the country to begin reopening.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he could see the country re-opening in phases, depending on the infection rates.

In an Associated Press interview, Fauci indicated the U.S. needed stronger and more efficient testing to be in place before parts of the country reopened. That was in sharp contrast to the president’s more upbeat, congratulatory messages about the administration’s coronavirus response.

Fauci did not speak at the briefing on Tuesday and no government officials spoke apart from the president.

One senior White House official described the IHME estimates as “promising” and a “positive sign.” This official also said there are “many plans in development” right now that are aimed at safely reopening the economy, including ways to boost surveillance testing across the country.

The administration conducted a stress test of the current surveillance testing system last week to see if it works and views that as one of the main areas that needs improvement before people return to work.

“The data is looking better and better each day, and ultimately we want the data to drive the decision-making in terms of reopening the economy,” the senior White House official said.

A second official said White House aides were aware of a widely circulated timeline put out by Morgan Stanley for restarting the economy and disagreed with it slightly. According to that timeline, the first wave of Americans returning to nonessential businesses would be in June, which is farther out than the current timeline being discussed by task force and other administration officials.

A number of conservatives outside of the administration, along with top officials like Kudlow, Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have been pushing Trump to relax the administration’s guidelines on social distancing as soon as possible to urge businesses to reopen.

Health officials have been sifting through state-by-state data to determine when the economy could reopen, including diagnostic rates of new infections as well as the availability of hospital beds.

Even before the flurry of discussions about forming the new economic council, top economic and Treasury officials had been meeting to discuss ways to boost the economy once people return to work; that could include tax cuts, such as temporarily suspending the payroll tax cut for employers and employees for up to a year, or easing regulations even further.

In just three weeks of the crisis, 16.8 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, according to the Labor Department, and millions more are expected to be added to that tally in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, governors are making their own plans to reopen the economy without the president’s input. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that state officials would consider the state’s ability to track the virus; the protection of vulnerable people; and the capacity of hospitals as he weighed reopening schools and businesses throughout the state.

Source link

Posted on

Long Island school’s ‘culturally insensitive’ photo of black students with monkey leads to lawsuit

The students said they were embarrassed and ashamed by the presentation.

A group of black high school students on Long Island claims their science teacher included racially insensitive images in a class presentation that referenced them as monkeys and now they’re planning to sue.

Longwood High School students Jahkeem Moye, Khevin Beaubrun, Gykye Murray and Desmond Dent Jr. said a white teacher presented a slideshow to the class that included a photo of them posing at the Bronx Zoo with the caption “Monkey Do” followed by an image of a gorilla.

The students said they were embarrassed and ashamed by the presentation, according to court documents filed this week. The families served a notice of claim Wednesday indicating their plans to sue Longwood Central School District for discrimination and emotional distress.

“I didn’t know that they were going to put [the photo] in that perspective and show us, compare us to monkeys,” Murray told reporters Wednesday.

In the same press conference, Beaubrun said he was threatened by school administrators to delete a Snapchat video that showcased the slideshow presentation or face suspension.

“I said they had used us like slaves. I posted it on Snapchat, on social media, and he asked me to take it down,” Beaubrun said, referring to his advanced zoology teacher.

Their attorney claims teachers “deliberately persuaded, tricked and cajoled” them into posing together near a Bronx Zoo gorilla exhibit during a class trip in November. The teacher captured the picture and included it in the class presentation about a month later, according to their attorney.

The teacher, identified only as Mr. Heinrichs, allegedly placed the photo in a slideshow between an image of monkeys with the caption “Monkey See,” and an image of a gorilla “thereby misusing the pidgin expression, ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ for racially discriminatory and offensive purposes,” according to the notice of claim.

The families plan to sue for $12 million, accusing the school of discriminating against the students and violating their civil rights.

The Longwood School District declined to identify the teacher and would not say if he had been disciplined. The district called the images “culturally insensitive” and attributed the situation to a “lapse of judgement.”

“The photo was an unfortunate lapse of judgment,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Lonergan said in a statement Wednesday. “Without the intent of doing so, the photo was taken without fully understanding the sensitivity or the hurt it may have caused and reminds us that we must be more aware of the feelings of our multi-cultural population.”

But the students’ attorney, John Ray, said the teacher involved was still teaching as of this week.

“These students are deeply wounded and shamed,” Ray said. “This is institutionalized racial superiority. … There can’t be any question about what they meant.”

“Remember, this is a zoology class, evolution is taught,” he added.

Source link

Posted on

Hillary Clinton’s Long, Strange Twitter Afterlife

As most Democrats look ahead to 2020, Clinton and her fans keep using Twitter to relive and recast 2016. Online, at least, there are still plenty of people who refer to her as “Madam President,” and she tosses this club a steady stream of caustic little bonbons: subtle Mean Girls references, snarky clapbacks, dry comments like “Yes, I am famously underscrutinized.” Fans responded to that one with cheers and GIFs of Rihanna putting on a crown. A writer for Esquire summed up the sentiment: “You’re having fun now, aren’t you?”

The tweets have helped conjure an image of the former candidate you might call Unchained Hillary, or, as some of her Twitter followers have dubbed it, Hillary with “zero f—s left to give.” The idea is that, unconstrained by public office, unfazed by critics and trolls, Clinton feels free to unleash a looser, truer, more spontaneous self. Her Twitter account is the most reliable vehicle for this version of Hillary, but she has shown flashes of the persona at public appearances, too: flipping through a book of her emails at a Venice Biennale art installation and filming a Halloween bit for about the scariness of the Electoral College for the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. In early December, she spent hours chatting with Howard Stern, talking trash about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, even addressing head-on the rumors that she’s a lesbian. (“Never even been tempted,” she said.)

Unchained Hillary is perceived not just as a set of tweets but almost a new character on the political stage, the candidate her fans wish had run in 2016. She is casual, snappy, direct and less inclined to carefully triangulate every public statement. And her presence over the past few months, online and in a string of book-related media appearances, has sparked a whole new round of speculation: Could Unchained Hillary have beaten Trump? Could she swoop into the 2020 field? Is she laying the groundwork for yet another phase of a political career?

But Clinton’s fans might want to cool off their enthusiasm. If you take the full measure of Clinton’s career, her voice appears less as a reinvention than as a kind of solar eclipse: Without the candidate version of Clinton to dominate our view, delivering cautious speeches and walking rope lines, her online persona shines through far more clearly. And that persona isn’t a new thing. It’s a side of Hillary Clinton sharpened by what you might call the default voice of Twitter: Sardonic, mildly bitter, unafraid to say what everyone else is thinking. It’s the same voice her digital staff worked hard to craft in 2016. Hillary, and whoever still might tweet for her, has been good at that for a while. So what is she using her voice for now?


Donald Trump may get all the attention for being the first candidate who used Twitter to disrupt politics, but if he’d never come along, with his unspellchecked fire hose of insult and puffery, Clinton stood a good chance of being that person. Even before young upstarts like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar made emojis and quote-tweet clapbacks the norm on political Twitter—in fact, well before the 2016 race—Clinton’s digital staff was pioneering a new political tone on social media.

Early on, the Clinton team understood how to seize the made-for-internet moments that fell in their laps, as shown by one well-known episode in 2012 when Clinton was secretary of State and Reuters published a candid photo of her wearing sunglasses and staring at her BlackBerry. Two young Washington public relations hands launched a Tumblr blog featuring imagined text exchanges between this boss-lady version of Clinton and various public figures. One sample exchange from the blog went like this: Barack Obama: “Hey Hil, Whatchu doing?” Clinton: “Running the world.” Clinton’s staff had the instinct to capitalize on the moment: They quickly reached out to the bloggers, contributing an entry and inviting them to meet her. It was proof not just that she could get a joke, but that she could toss it back in fluent internet-speak. (There is a cautionary tale embedded here, too: It was literally that photo of Clinton on her Blackberry that prompted the initial questions about her use of a private email server.)

Imagewise, the moment felt like a stake in the ground, a sign of new-media savvy at a time when many veteran politicians found the internet a mystifying entity. And in the 2016 race, Clinton doubled down. To run her digital operations, she hired Teddy Goff, who had been President Barack Obama’s digital director in 2012, and led a staff of Brooklyn-based “content producers” who aimed for a savvy, conversational voice. “We’re not competing with Donald Trump on Facebook,” Goff told the New York Times at the time. “We’re competing with your best friend, your spouse, your mom, last night’s Olympics clips.”

Ultimately, though, Clinton was competing against Trump. And when you look back at the candidates’ bodies of social media work, you can see how hard Clinton’s campaign worked to match the energy of Trump’s insane, magnetic feed—and how successful it was in crafting something to meet the moment.

Trump wielded the medium much as he does now, with a reflexive mix of anger, pride, insults and oddball jokes. His tweets were an extension of his mood, his brain and his ego, and they felt like a manifestation of his true self. When his staff tweeted for him, it was often obvious: No one else could have crafted that voice. Clinton’s feed—which, like many other politicians’, was largely ghostwritten—was more tightly attuned to the social trends of the moment. Her staff balanced sly references to the Trump campaign with the salty terseness of Twitter clapbacks. “Delete your account,” read her most-retweeted entry. It came in response to a snide comment from Trump about Obama’s endorsement of Clinton. “(It’s only Wednesday.),” she tweeted in May 2016, above an image of a statement from her campaign chairman describing a rash of questionable behavior by Trump that week. “Vote your conscience,” read another, a reference to a speech Ted Cruz had made an hour and a half earlier at the Republican National Convention. (That tweet was paired with a link to a voter registration page.) Her feed was also savvy about pop culture; when Trump used an image of “Frozen” merchandise to defend himself against charges of anti-Semitism, Clinton shot back with a “Frozen” reference that eviscerated his argument.

Woven in with these grabs for clicks and cash were videos of the candidate at African American churches and talking with little girls—the kind of anodyne fare that, in a previous campaign, might have been the entire social media program. Clinton’s team didn’t have the luxury to fall back on feel-good messaging, so it made the most of the sometimes odd combination of her wonkish, earnest persona and Twitter’s hard-edged cynicism. The feed could be informal, curt, and bold. It aimed at looking effortless, even when tweets were layered with carefully considered meaning. In the case of the “Wednesday” tweet, for instance, Clinton was essentially dunking the ball after an alley-oop pass, adding humor on top of a substantive point—a tested social media trick to make the original point spread farther and wider than it would have on its own. “If there is one thing that the internet likes, it’s being really direct. If there’s been a change in how Hillary engages online, then that’s probably it,” Goff told Elle magazine in the summer of 2016.

The effort didn’t always hit the mark. Both supporters and critics on the left complained about the glibness of a tweet that asked, “How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.” Overall, though, Clinton’s social media operation was noted for its fluency in internet. “Hillary Clinton’s Twitter game is #Strong,” read one Elle social headline. A piece in Mashable explained “How the Clinton campaign is slaying social media.” By the July before the election, she had about 7 million Twitter followers, compared to Trump’s 10 million. (They’re now at 26 million and 68 million, respectively.)

The trademark success of her digital team was taking a candidate frequently knocked for her lack of charisma and building a charismatic online presence around the parts of her personality that matched. And in some ways, Twitter’s snarky milieu made that easy. In real life, Clinton “has a very biting, sharp sense of humor, or a very sharp, humorous way of making serious points,” says Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime aide, spokesman and debate-prep sparring partner. “Twitter allows us to say things that ordinarily would stay in your head, or in the room you’re in, and share it with the world.”


Today, Clinton’s staff is largely gone, and it’s safe to assume her Twitter voice is more reliably her own. “She has a very small office, and it’s mostly scheduling, correspondence—so there’s no ‘they,’” Reines tells me. Sometimes a staff member will have an idea for a tweet, he says, “but she’s not one of these absentee landlords on her Twitter account at all. And certainly nothing goes out without her, you know, putting her imprimatur on it.” Goff declined to comment for this story; another longtime Clinton spokesperson ghosted.

Clearly, there’s something real about the Clinton we see now, but the campaign DNA remains.

There’s the same dry sarcasm, as when she tweeted a clip of Trump talking about Ukraine to news reporters and commented, “Someone should inform the president that impeachable offenses committed on national television still count.” There’s a very non-boomery engagement with current pop culture. Over the summer, she had a brief exchange with pop singer Lizzo; last spring, she tweeted at Trump with a famous Mean Girls GIF in which Regina George asks, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” She wields hashtags like #tbt, which she artfully used to reference her time spent, as a young lawyer, on the Watergate impeachment inquiry. And she tweeted a fake letter from John F. Kennedy to Nikita Khrushchev, lifted from Jimmy Kimmel writers, that was obviously primed to spread like wildfire—much like the made-to-go-viral tools her campaign created, like a “Trump Yourself” filter that let users overlay Trump quotes on social media photos.

On the other hand, Clinton issues even more tweets that feel like official communications from an ongoing campaign. There are plenty of cheery, milquetoast tweets promoting Gutsy Women, the book she co-wrote with her daughter. Policy endorsements get threaded in, sometimes less artfully; after the World Series, she turned a congratulatory tweet for the Washington Nationals into an endorsement for Washington, D.C., statehood. Still pinned to the top of her feed is a line from her 2016 concession speech about the value of little girls.

Reines agrees with the notion that there’s nothing new about Clinton’s public persona—and that, over her decades of public life, as she’s taken on a broad range of public roles, people have always tried to search for hidden meaning in the same old communications. “Look, I started to work for her in 2002. I’ve gone through this ‘something’s changed’ routine,” he tells me. “I really think it’s in the ear of the beholder.”

So if she’s still maintaining the persona, and the presence, her staff built to run for president in 2016, what’s it all for this time? Clinton has publicly pushed back on the idea that she’ll run again. But there are clues scattered throughout her 2017 postelection memoir, What Happened. The book was mostly infused with a sense of mourning for a presidential administration that wasn’t to be and a place in history as the first female president. At one point, she shared a passage from her planned election night victory speech, in which she imagined meeting her mother as an 8-year-old and telling her that her future daughter would grow up to be president. It seemed clear that she saw her loss, not just as a shock or a thwarting of ambition, but as something closer to personal tragedy. It was an emotional defeat she could manage in part by retreating from public life: walking in the woods, spending time with her grandchildren, going to the theater.

Now, though, she has recovered and rebounded is and back on the public stage, through some combination of circumstance and calculation. She wrote a book about successful upstart women, with a massive book tour scheduled for the run-up to an election year—and a built-in reason to maintain a Twitter presence. And the fact that her book appearances coincide with the Trump impeachment drama makes her loyal fans cling even more fiercely to their alternate vision of 2016, the fact that she won the popular vote, the lingering “I-told-you-so” factor. She’s still a political player, but the campaign is different this time: It’s a bid to solidify her place in history. And without the grueling work of actually going out on the stump, she still gets to act like a candidate. Occasionally.

Source link

Posted on

General election 2019: Labour facing long haul, warns McDonnell

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionJohn McDonnell says it’s time for him to step aside as shadow chancellor

Labour faces a “long haul” as it attempts to gain power following its fourth election defeat in a row, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has warned.

He rejected claims that leader Jeremy Corbyn had been responsible for the result, instead blaming “the overwhelming issue” of Brexit.

But some current and ex-MPs have said Mr Corbyn’s unpopularity contributed to Labour losing dozens of seats.

Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won on Thursday with a Commons majority of 80.

The outcome, far more positive for the Tories than most opinion polls had predicted, has prompted much soul-searching within Labour, which last won a general election under Tony Blair in 2005.

Mr Corbyn has announced he will stand down in the near future and Mr McDonnell, one of his closest allies, said he had been “the right leader” for the party.

But Labour MP Phil Wilson, who lost the seat of Sedgefield which he had held for 12 years, said “so many people said to me on the doorstep, Phil, if you had a different leader, I’d vote for you, there wouldn’t be a problem”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionFormer Labour MP: Corbyn lost me my seat

Asked whether Mr Corbyn lost him his seat, Mr Wilson replied: “Yes.”

For many of his constituents, he said: “The one thing that was holding them back from voting Labour was the current leadership of the Labour Party.”

He added: “For every one person who raised Brexit with me on the doorstep, there would be five people who raised Jeremy Corbyn.”

Image caption

Phil Wilson had been the MP for Sedgefield since 2007

Meanwhile, Labour’s Helen Goodman, who lost her Bishop Auckland seat to the Conservatives on Thursday, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that “the biggest factor was obviously the unpopularity of Jeremy Corbyn as the leader”.

And Dame Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, east London, said she felt “anger because this is an election we should have won”.

She added that, under Mr Corbyn’s leadership – during which Labour has faced criticism for its handling of anti-Semitism allegations among its membership – voters had come to see it “as a nasty party”.

Asked whether M Former Labour MP Phil Wilson, who lost the seat of Sedgefield which he had held for 12 years, said “so many people said to me on the doorstep, Phil, if you had a different leader, I’d vote for you, there wouldn’t be a problem”.

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, said the party’s “far-left” manifesto had alienated much of the electorate.

However, Labour’s ex-Welsh secretary, Lord Hain, insisted the party must not embrace a “wishy-washy centrism” in the wake of its defeat.

Lord Hain, a cabinet minister under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, said the “Corbyn project” had some “very searching self-examination” to do, but it was important to offer “a clear alternative to the Tory project”.

Mr McDonnell disagreed with personal criticism of his leader, saying: “The overwhelming issue was Brexit and the Labour Party was caught on the horns of a dilemma.

“We had a party which was largely supportive of Remain, but many of us represented Leave constituencies.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are longstanding allies

In the election, Labour’s number of Commons seats fell to 203, its lowest since 1935.

Mr Corbyn, leader since 2015, ran for prime minister on a promise to hold a second referendum on Brexit, saying that during any campaign he would remain neutral – in contrast to Mr Johnson’s promise to take the UK out of the EU by 31 January.

Mr McDonnell said: “If we went one way, to Leave, we would have alienated a lot of our Remain support. If we went for Remain, we’d alienate a lot of our Leave support.

“We tried to bring the country together. It failed. We have to accept that, take it on the chin. We have to own that and then move on.”

Mr McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington in west London, said Labour now needed to have “a constructive debate” about its future, discussing “what went right and what went wrong” during the election campaign.

He argued that Mr Corbyn, who has received criticism from some Labour figures for not standing down immediately, was right to stay on “for a couple of months”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionJeremy Corbyn: “There is no such thing as Corbynism”

It was necessary because of the “expertise” required to deal with issues such as Brexit and the forthcoming Budget, he said.

Discussing Mr Johnson’s government, Mr McDonnell said: “My fear is that we’re in for a long haul now, possibly five years.

“The two issues that we face are still there – huge, grotesque levels of inequality and, the issue that never really emerged in the campaign, which was climate change, this existential threat that must be our priority.

“Brexit, well, we’ll see what the government brings back in terms of its negotiations. The people have decided we need to implement that, but we’ve got to get the best deal to protect jobs and the economy.”

He added: “My fear is five years of a fossil fuel-backed government under Boris Johnson means we’ll miss this five-years opportunity of saving our planet.”

At the 2017 general election, Mr Corbyn’s first as Labour leader, the party won 40% of votes and gained 30 MPs, denying Theresa May’s Conservatives a majority.

But on Thursday it received 32% of the vote and lost 59 seats, including several of its traditional strongholds in the north of England.

Mr Corbyn said that, during the election campaign, he had done “everything I could” and that he had “pride” in the party’s manifesto.

The Labour leader’s sons, Tommy, Seb and Benjamin, tweeted a tribute to their father, calling him an “honest, humble and good-natured” figure in the “poisonous world” of politics.

Source link