Learning lessons from Labour’s election defeat

Last month Labour suffered the worst general election defeat in a generation. While Labour did very well in Central London and achieved similar results in large cities, particularly in the Northwest and Yorkshire, it was a very different story in other parts of England and Wales. We suffered a very, very heavy defeat in Scotland.

Vote Labour board in Hornsey and Wood Green

Vote Labour board in Hornsey and Wood Green

So what happened? Why were the results so varied across the country? Why did Labour fail to win seats from the Tories? Why did we lose so many votes to UKIP and the Scottish National Party?

To answer these questions and more the Labour Party has established a taskforce to look into what went wrong and what lessons we can learn for the future.
The taskforce will be chaired by Margaret Beckett MP. Other members of the task force will represent members from across the Labour movement, including party members, MPs, BAME Labour, unsuccessful candidates, the trade unions and representatives from England, Scotland and Wales.

I am representing Labour councillors on the taskforce. We had a mixed result in the Council elections the coincided with the general election, winning Councils in the Northwest and Brighton but losing control of Councils in Derbyshire, Plymouth and Kent. The experience and reflections of Councillors from across the UK is extremely valuable and Councillors will play a key role in rebuilding the Labour Party and working to return a Labour government in 2020.

The taskforce will be asking the following kinds of questions:

  • Why do you think Labour lost the election?
  • What were the key issues in your local area?
  • Which Labour campaign message and policies did you like/dislike?
  • How well did Labour communicate our messages and policies?
  • How effective and active were Labour’s local opponents?
  • What do you think Labour needs to win the next general election?

We want to hear from Labour voters, party members, elected representatives and the general public – everyone really! You will be invited to participate in surveys and events, which will be organised on a regional basis. If you have any comments or questions please get in touch.

For more information about the taskforce you can also sign-up to my mailing list.

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5 thoughts on “Learning lessons from Labour’s election defeat

  1. Dan Smith

    The reason Labour didn’t get elected is that we are not hanging together as a credible party. This is because we are still unpopular from bailing out the banks in 2009/10 and the Tories have capitalised on this by dividing and conquering the UK.

    Reply
  2. Cllr Barry H Kendler

    Why did we lose the election? – 5 principal reasons – Our Leader was not credible; We let the Coalition saddle us with an image of economic incompetence from 2008 – 2010 and neither of the two Ed’s could bring up a riposte; Our position on the EU was unpopular and seen as undemocratic; The Mansion Tax was a cop-out from committing to a proper Banding review and revaluation; Our position was neither pro or anti-Austerity. We tried to ride both horses and fell off.
    What were the key issues in your local area? – The leader; the EU; the Mansion Tax; some decisions made by me and the rest of the Harrow Labour Group such as charging for Garden Waste.
    Which Labour campaign message and policies did you like/dislike? – The Private renting reforms were positive; investment in the NHS; Minimum Wage increase; Apprenticeships. Dislike – No referendum on EU; Mansion Tax; right to buy; Our failure to spell out welfare cuts made us look shifty.
    How well did Labour communicate our messages and policies? Poorly – Where was the pledge card. Where was the briefing; The Ed Stone was frankly childish.
    How effective and active were Labour’s local opponents? Locally it was the Tories. The Lib Dems were moribund and UKIP came into the fray very late. Green had a low profile but took some of our votes. The Tories bombarded our voters with slick leaflets. Our 4 million conversations was a con. They were not conversations they were who are you going to vote for?
    What do you think Labour needs to win the next general election? Vote for Yvette Cooper as Leader. Hold a national conversation between the Leader being appointed and 2018. The whole policy debate under Ed was a closed shop and the internal committees had already made up their mind. Decide our economic strategy which must be different from the Tories. What percentage of GDP of debt is acceptable. Get the economic balance right – Attack corporate greed but love small business and workers on middle incomes. We need to be bold about building for the future. The Tories are the Party of the old. Like me (I am 66) I am the past so the Tory base will erode so we must switch from the better off elderly to the 25 – 45 year old age group. Housing must be top in terms of social policy and be about affordability not, a particular type of tenure.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: NEC Report – July 2015 | Cllr Alice Perry

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