LONDON: In an unusually frank report, an independent inquiry into the Labour party’ s defeat in the May 2015 general election in Britain has outlined 10 messages and three lessons, including the assessment that it was becoming a“toxic brand” and was on ”life support”.
Labour lost the last two general elections in 2010 and 2015 after remaining in power for 13 years from 1997 to 2010. In the 2015 election, it increased its vote share from 29% to 30.4% but lost to the Conservative Party, which won a majority against most predictions.
The inquiry report titled ‘Labour’s Future: Why Labour Lost in 2015 and How It Can Win Again’ suggests “a tsunami of aspirant voters sank Labour and the pollsters”.
“Voters abandoned Labour because they believed Labour lacked economic credibility and the perception was that it would be profligate in government. In contrast, they trusted the Tories with their economic security”.
“Labour lost because voters didn’t believe it would cut the deficit. The Tories didn’t win despite their commitment to cut spending and the deficit: they won because of it. The Tories were trusted to manage the country’s finances, Labour was not”.
Labour’s defeat led to Ed Miliband resigning as leader and Jeremy Corbyn taking over after a party election that saw thousands of new members joining the party, enthused by Corbyn’s personality and left-oriented politics.
Corbyn’s many critics say that for all his ideas and plans, he does not make the mark on the election ‘winnability’ factor. There is already speculation that he would be replaced as the party leader before the 2020 general election.
The report says: “Labour is becoming a toxic brand. It is perceived by voters as a party that supports an ‘open door’ approach to immigration, lacks credibility on the economy, and is a ‘soft touch’ on welfare spending”.
“Labour is on life support in England and Wales, without signs of resurgence in the areas needed to build a winning coalition. It faces a monument al challenge in Scotland ”.
Party MP Jon Cruddas, chair of the inquiry, said: “Finally we looked at the results of the 5 May elections this year. Has Labour been learning the lessons of defeat and making progress? The results suggest not”.
He added: “The Party faces a monument al challenge in Scotland. In England and Wales it is on life support. Where Labour wins it wins well, but there are no signs of resurgence in the areas it needs to build a winning coalition”.