Jeremy Corbyn led the Labour Party to its worst general election result in recent history in December, disastrously failing to take advantage of a Conservative Government in crisis from a change of leader and Prime Minister, and the increasing struggles to get Brexit over the line. The crushing loss handed Boris Johnson and the Tories a massive 80-seat majority in the House of Commons, providing it with unrivaled power for any crunch votes to take place in the UK parliament. The humiliating defeat saw Labour lose several of its traditional heartlands, particularly in the north of England, which it had held and relied on for several decades.
Mr Corbyn subsequently announced his resignation as leader after nearly five years in charge, with former Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer elected in his place.
Now a major report looking at the disastrous general election defeat has laid out the huge task ahead of Sir Keir, warning the party will “not win” unless urgent and immediate changes to its culture and foundations are made.
The report has been put together by Labour Together, which was set up to unite MPs and activists from different traditions, and was prepared by a a 15-strong panel of commissioners, including former leader Ed Miliband and James Meadway, who advised the former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
This uses interviews with senior party figures, as well as previously unseen polling and analysis, and outlines huge faults in Labour and in particular its election campaign.
A new report on Labour has laid out the huge task facing Keir Starmer and has upset Owen Jones
Jeremy Corbyn was confident heading into the general election
Labour Together says: “Labour has a mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years.
“This report lays out in stark detail the scale of that task. Unless as a party and a movement we face up to that we will not win.
“Labour faces a substantial challenge to win the next election, with a historic swing of over 10 percent needed to gain a majority of one seat.
“No major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 per-cent, which is what Labour would need to do to win in 2024.”
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Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to a humiliating general election defeat
Labour activist Owen Jones was upset by the report and admitted it makes for “deeply uncomfortable reading”.
He tweeted: “The report into Labour’s catastrophic defeat is a must-read.
“It’s deeply uncomfortable reading, from long-term trends hitting Labour, to the party’s terrible strategic failures.”
The report lashes out at the “toxic culture” which engulfed Labour, particularly around its handling of anti-Semitism allegations and Brexit policy under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
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Owen Jones said the report makes for ‘deeply uncomfortable reading’
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Labour Together says: “Our Party has spent substantial periods of the last five years in conflict with itself resulting in significant strategic and operational dysfunction, resulting in a toxic culture and limiting our ability to work effectively.
“Responsibility for this rests not wholly with one side or part of our movement.
“Across our movement we should accept our part in these divisions and the impact this had on our ability to work together and present a united front to the public.”
The review also launches a scathing attack on Mr Corbyn, stating “concerns about Labour’s leadership were a significant factor in our election loss in 2019” and that a ‘Stop Jeremy Corbyn’ campaign was a major reason for the party’s crushing election loss.
The main reason for sticking with the Labour Party
Labour is accused of “disconnecting” with voters throughout the country through the loss of “institutional roots”, warning this stretched back over 20 years.
The review warns “we will not win or deserve to win” the next general election in 2024 unless all of the fundamental flaws dominating the party are quickly addressed.
Labour Together says: “Unless we recognise and accept this triple challenge of the scale of our task, the failures of 2019 and the deep roots of how we got here, we will not win or deserve to win. None can be ignored.”
“Our report lays bare that our defeat had deep roots. This loss is the story of more than one election—indeed it is a story that stretches back two decades.
“The institutional and cultural bonds that linked many voters to Labour have become weaker and weaker over time. From the loss of local Labour clubs to declining Trade Union membership, Labour has lost many of the institutional roots it had within communities, resulting in disconnection.
Keir Starmer replaced Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader
“Labour lost millions of voters before it lost office in 2010 partly as a result of political alienation from politics more generally, and from the Labour Party particularly, including perceptions that there was little difference between the parties and the prominence of new cultural divides.
“Over many years previous Labour voters and traditionally Labour communities have moved away, either to abstention or to smaller parties such as UKIP.
“Some of those voters also chose the Conservatives for the first time in 2019, enough to help tip a number of seats over the edge where the long-term decline in Labour’s vote share had been evident for years.
“Unless we recognise and accept this triple challenge of the scale of our task, the failures of 2019 and the deep roots of how we got here, we will not win or deserve to win. None can be ignored.”