Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, believes Donald Trump’s shock election has parallels with Jeremy Corbyn’s unexpected rise to the Labour Party leadership in Britain.
The MP for Islington South and Finsbury told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that there were “some similarities” with the anti-establishment anger that both candidates tapped into, even though their solutions are different.
BBC Today presenter John Humphrys suggested Corbyn seemed to “welcome” Trump’s victory, criticising him for failing to condemn the controversial President-elect in strong enough terms.
Thornberry said that Corbyn “didn’t welcome” Trump’s election, but instead that he “recognises what’s happening [across the world], which is that there are too many people, and too many regions, who feel as though politics at the moment just doesn’t represent their interests.”
“The system needs to be to make sure that our politics actually works for everyone and we need to make sure that we’re not just acting on behalf of a few,” she added.
Asked if she believed Trump was tapping into the same seam of anger that took Jeremy Corbyn to power, Thornberry replied: “Yes and no. I think that it’s right to say that there are too many people who feel that the political system doesn’t work on behalf of everyone.
“I think it’s right that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have now been energised in Britain by Jeremy Corbyn being the leader of the Labour party, so I think there are some similarities,” she said.
But she added: “It’s clear that the values and principles that Jeremy Corbyn espouses are very different to those espoused by Trump.”
The Labour party are struggling under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, which has seen the party move dramatically to the left of politics. A poll published last week put the Tories on 43% and Labour on 26%. That would translate to a landslide majority for Theresa May’s Conservative Party in a general election.
Thornberry believes, however, that anti-establishment anger will soon start translating into votes for Labour, even though it is distinctly pro-immigration, unlike Donald Trump — who proposed building a wall between Mexico and the USA and called Mexicans “rapists.”
She said that the party had popular policies that offered an “alternative.”
“We are an alternative, we will be a good alternative and we have to find a way to express that clearly. Politics in Britain is going very fast indeed. I don’t bet, but I think the wheel will turn,” she said.
Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, refused to condemn Trump and instead congratulated him on winning a “hard-fought campaign,” saying she looked forward to working with him.
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