MPs must develop a strategy for ‘isolating from Jeremy without increasing perception of division’, the report says [Image: Jonathan Brady/PA].

Let’s get this straight: “Moderate” Labour researchers have used focus groups to claim that “moderate” Labour MPs need to distance themselves from Jeremy Corbyn – something they’re keen to do in any case.

And the Guardian‘s Jessica Elgot is using Jamie Reed’s resignation and the by-election it has triggered as a reason for them to do so?

Do none of them realise that Labour’s low majority in Copeland is most likely precisely because Mr Reed was a so-called “moderate”?

Put a candidate up who actually supports traditional Labour values – the kind of values northern voters appreciate – and matters are likely to be very different indeed.

These focus groups won’t have picked up on that because they deal with UKIP-leaning Labour voters – in other words, voters who are themselves likely to be very much on the right-wing of Labour politics.

This is a transparent attempt to scaremonger by leaking ‘fake news’ – information that contains only part of the facts, or a skewed version of them. Pathetic.

Damning research [by members of Labour’s right-wing “moderate” wing] reveals swing voters believe the party lacks leadership, direction or any strong message under Jeremy Corbyn, prompting calls for moderate Labour MPs in the north to be offered a “lifeboat strategy” to protect them from association with the leader.

The research seen by the Guardian, which has been circulated among a selected group of moderate MPs, includes a string of highly damaging focus-group results and says Ukip-leaning Labour voters have “no reason to vote Labour beyond habit and social norm”.

It suggests MPs must develop their own electoral strategy of “how to run locally in a challenging context and isolate from Jeremy without increasing perception of division”.

The party is facing a tough byelection challenge in Copeland, Cumbria, after the resignation of Labour’s Jamie Reed earlier this week. Though Labour has held the seat for decades, the party was only 2,560 votes ahead of the Conservatives at the last election and the majority of voters in the constituency voted to leave the EU in the July referendum.

The December report was written by James Morris, formerly the top polling adviser to Ed Miliband, and based on the findings from focus groups with Ukip-leaning Labour voters held over a number of months.

Source: Labour MPs must isolate themselves from Jeremy Corbyn, says report | Politics | The Guardian

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