Politics

Yvette Cooper: Labour did badly in election but will pull UK together again


A fortnight on, the election result feels worse. Labour did very badly and it’s crazy to pretend that we didn’t.

There are fewer Labour MPs now than at any time since 1935.

We lost votes across the country, and especially in our towns.

People who rely on a strong Labour Party – from families forced to use food banks to patients on NHS waiting lists – have been badly let down.

We have to show humility, accept that we got things wrong and be ready to change.

There are fewer Labour MPs now than at any time since 1935

And we have to pick ourselves up and get on with the hard work of earning votes back.

Some in the Labour Party want to blame our defeat only on the leadership. Others want to blame it only on Brexit . Yet it was about both of those things and more.

In our towns in Yorkshire, we knocked on thousands of doors trying to persuade people to stick with Labour.

Some said they just didn’t want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister. Others were fearful that we wouldn’t stand up for national security.

We found little enthusiasm for Boris Johnson

Some wanted Brexit done and felt angry and let down.

We found little enthusiasm for Boris Johnson .

One woman told me in tears that she was voting Tory for the first time and she was furious with us for making her feel like she had to do it.

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I’m glad our party had radical plans to end austerity, support our NHS, tackle climate change and fight against injustice and inequality.

Our strength has always been when we pull the whole country together – building the NHS or Sure Start, helping families out of poverty

We have to keep fighting for those values.

But we won’t get the chance to implement any plans unless people also think our party and leadership are credible as well as radical and that we will stand up for security and the national interest.

Nor will we ever get the chance to rebuild the country we love if we stay too narrow as a party.

That means being a broad church and resisting the pressure to be a factional or narrow hard left party.

Labour will win again because we have to

But it’s also about whether both left and right of the party are increasingly concentrating support in cities not towns, losing older voters and working class voters.

Our party was forged in northern and Midlands industrial towns more than a century ago – but some have given up on us for the first time in generations.

Our strength has always been when we pull the whole country together – building the NHS or Sure Start, helping families out of poverty.

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We can do so again – on jobs, climate change, public services and fighting injustice.

Labour will win again because we have to.

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Now is not the time to give up on Labour when we need a strong Labour Party more than ever.





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