Labour Together launches commission to learn from 2019 election

Elliot Chappell
© Twitter/@scottishlabour

Labour Together has launched a commission to analyse and learn from the Labour Party’s defeat at the 2019 general election.

Jointly commissioned by LabourList, the inquiry includes party members, supporters and politicians aiming to “learn the lessons of seismic election defeat”.

Labour Together says that the commission will be independent, and is made up of people who believe that Labour will only be successful if it moves past factionalism.

Commissioners include Ed Miliband, Lucy Powell, Shabana Mahmood, a trade union representative, former MP Jo Platt, James Meadway and Labourlist editor Sienna Rodgers.

Commenting on the election, Powell said: “This is a deeply disappointing result for anyone who wants a transformative Labour government. We have lost the last four elections and we all have to accept that our offers to the country have been insufficient.

“We should have taken the time to understand our losses previously. It’s now profoundly important for the future of our party and country that we take a real and meaningful look at why we have fallen short. This inquiry gives us the opportunity to listen to members, candidates and the public and I hope our whole movement takes it in the spirit it is offered and takes part.”

Key actions of the commission will include:

  • Taking written and oral evidence from all the defeated candidates in former Labour held seats, and those on Labour’s target list;
  • Holding listening events and focus groups with the public in heartland seats in England, Scotland and Wales that we lost;
  • Conducting objective analysis of election data available;
  • Speaking to the organisers, councillors and activists around the country about what went right and what went wrong;
  • A wide-ranging survey of Labour members and activists, with the help of LabourList;
  • Mapping out a route back to power for Labour.

Speaking about the need for the analysis, Rodgers of LabourList said: “It’s really important that Labour members have the time and space to come together and learn the lessons of our seismic election defeat with honesty and in good faith.

“That’s why Labour Together has launched this independent review of the 2019 election campaign – to analyse the results in an even-handed way, which doesn’t start with blaming one faction, or individual.”

Labour Together says the commission will involve various groups within the party including Momentum, Labour First, Open Labour and Progress – as well as engaging with the wider membership.

The review intends to produce the most comprehensive and objective analysis of what went wrong, and how Labour could have improved its campaign.

It will examine underlying trends in voter appeal and how the party might address these in future, in addition to looking at the organisational lessons that can be learnt.

The commission will also analyse the experiences of Labour members, and grassroots activists are being encouraged to take part in an online survey.

Labour secured just 202 seats in the general election earlier this month; Brexit, the leadership and the election strategy have all featured in speculation about the possible causes of defeat.

Labour Together was launched after the 2015 general election and leadership contest by Jon Cruddas, Lisa Nandy and Steve Reed.

The group aims to “create a space for people to have difficult but necessary political conversations” – to “find strength through our difference”.

Other MPs that help coordinate its projects include Jim McMahon, Bridget Phillipson, Wes Streeting, Marsha de Cordova, Alex Norris, Thangam Debbonaire, Darren Jones, Holly Lynch, James Frith, David Lammy and Jack Dromey.

The Labour Together online survey is available to complete here.

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