While already under obvious pressure due to their party's loss, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign aides Katie Murphy and Seumas Milne are facing additional scrutiny: the Times disclosed Labour’s secret list of target seats for the recent election, last updated on 15 November, which includes strategy details underscoring the pair's hubris.
The dossier, made public at the behest of an internal party critic, claims Murphy demonstrated unbelievable arrogance as she reportedly announced that she would turn a blind eye to polls and conventional strategy in the run-up to the vote.
“We ripped up those rules,” she allegedly told an audience of advisers. “This is a full-on assault. Every single seat is there for the battle.”
According to the document, Labour waged most of its offensive campaign in leave-voting Tory seats in the Midlands, the north of England and Wales — the area that saw the biggest swings against the Corbyn-led party, according to BBC analysis.
Out of the overall 86 target seats, 60 were 'offensive', meaning Labour was struggling to take the lead and capture them from the rival party, while vulnerable seats held by Labour numbered just 26 and were called 'defensive'.
The strategy outlined in the dossier instantly ended up in party critics’ crosshairs, with some emphasising the need to be sure Corbyn’s successors won’t repeat the same mistakes and will never place “winning stupid ideological battles” above winning real tangible power.
“This dossier just further confirms the incompetence at the highest levels of the Labour Party — not only have they failed to recognise the challenges that we face in terms of leadership, racism in the party and our Brexit policy, they also had no idea how to run the campaign,” Ruth Smeeth, the Jewish MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, lamented, adding “good colleagues lost by hundreds of votes because seemingly no one in the head office was prepared to look at data”.
“They should be ashamed of themselves,” she exclaimed, scolding the party strategists.
As was the case with outgoing party leader Corbyn, neither Murphy nor Milne was prepared to quit immediately after the defeat, with Labour members reportedly feeling nothing but resentment as they are seeking to determine the direction in which the party will move next.
The negativity shot upward as on top of it, last week, Corbyn aides floated the idea of removing Murphy by giving her a peerage on the dissolution honours list – something that instantly enraged Labour members, with one “putting it on record” in a letter to the GMB union that “we would be concerned by any attempt to reward failure at the election – as well as a poor track record on issues from harassment to anti-Semitism — by awarding Ms. Murphy a peerage.”
Labour’s major election disaster saw the left-wingers lose 60 seats, including constituencies it had historically held for a century, dropping eight percent in the total vote share. Corbyn had indicated he will step down in the new year after a "period of reflection”, expressing "pride in the manifesto" Labour had put forward and blaming the loud defeat on the Brexit agenda.