'That's b******s' - Labour MEP says European election result is 'final warning' for her party
Labour's one remaining MEP for the North East has said her party must get the message from voters after The Brexit Party romped to victory in the region.
Labour came second with 119,931 votes and saw sitting MEP Jude Kirton-Darling reelected - but her colleague Paul Brannen lose his seat.
Speaking after the results for the North East were declared at the Silksworth Tennis Centre in Sunderland, Ms Kirton-Darling said the result was a "final warning things must change" if Labour wanted to win a general election.
"I've had to convince Labour Party members to vote for us as well as our voters. We must heed that message," she said.
Ms Kirton-Darling said voters did not want a Conservative Brexit and the "Tories' Brexit psycho drama is tearing us apart as a country".
"This election was never going to be easy. For many people it shouldn't have happened at all, for others it's become a second referendum with parties promising what those elected can't deliver, whether leave or remain," she said.
But the MEP added that the election was about who would represent the region in the European Parliament, and Labour had a "proud" record on campaigning for tax justice, climate action and stronger workers' rights
Sign up to our daily newsletter
Speaking of her ousted colleague, she said: "I'm proud of Paul Brannen, who's been a strong voice for this region."
She added: "This has not been a normal election, but it has shown the weakness of our position on Brexit. People don't know what we stand for."
Ms Kirton-Darling went on to reference a speech she made to Labour activists in Durham earlier this month.
She said she told them: "Some would have you believe that the values and principles you've always stood by are now obsolete. Because all of our politics can now be broken down to a binary choice on the fixed on June 23 2016.
"That's b******s. If you sit out the European elections because it's too hard, or you split the vote for Labour, the only victory will be for Farage's values."
The MEP referenced that The Brexit Party's victorious Brian Monteith lived in France, which she said showed he enjoyed the freedom of movement which would be denied to young people after Brexit. Mr Monteith later denied his living in France amounted to hypocrisy.
She said Labour had not fought this election with all its political might, and must act on the message from voters.