Labour leadership: What the next Labour leader MUST do to topple Tories in next election


THE LABOUR PARTY is in the middle of a leadership election as it looks to rebuild after a crushing defeat in last year’s general election.

THE LABOUR PARTY is in the middle of a leadership election as it looks to rebuild after a crushing defeat in last year’s general election.

With Jeremy Corbyn announcing he was stepping down in the aftermath of the Conservatives winning an 80-seat majority, the next leader of the Labour Party has a massive task on their hands if it wants to win the next election. spoke exclusively with Dr Patrick Diamond, a senior lecturer in British politics from Queen Mary University London’s School of Politics and International Relations, about how Labour’s new leader might swing the political pendulum back in its favour.

Dr Diamond is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing the next leader.

In the running for leadership are Sir Keir Starmer, the current favourite, Rebecca Long-Bailey, a Corbynista, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry, though she has struggled to secure the required number of nominations to make the final ballot.

The winner will be announced on April 4 at a special conference.

Dr Diamond said: “I think if we were to imagine that things didn’t change from today it looks very difficult for Labour to win the next election.

“The Conservatives have too much of a majority.

“Labour would need a swing of around 10 percent and that’s not happened since Tony Blair in 1997.

“You’d have to say it’s a tall order for the Labour Party.”

He added: “But there some things could bring big change.

“Brexit does introduce some new instability because we don’t know the effects yet.

“There’s also the potential of a second Scottish independence referendum.

“The position of Scotland is interesting because for Labour to win it needs to win seats in Scotland.

“At the moment it only has one seat there. I don’t see Labour back in power until they win more seats up there.”

Labour won the largest share of the vote in Scotland at every UK general election from 1964 until 2015.

In recent times, Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP has dominated north of the border campaigning for Scotland to gain independence.

This has pushed Labour out to the fringes and cost them dearly in the House of Commons as the SNP took away votes from Labour’s core support.

Regaining those seats are therefore key to Labour’s chances of eating into the Conservatives’ majority at the next election.

With independence a key topic in Scotland, it’s no wonder Mrs Long-Bailey and Ms Nandy have discussed it publicly during the leadership campaign.

Mrs Long-Bailey announced she would not stand in the way of a second Scottish independence referendum if she becomes Labour leader.

She said: “I want Scotland to remain part of the Union but what I will say is that as a democratic party I could never condone the British government not supporting a call from the Scottish people, if the Scottish Parliament determine that it wanted to have another independence referendum, I don’t think that it would be democratically right for us to block that.”

Scottish Labour, the UK Labour Party’s devolved Scotland administrative subdivision, is unionist.

Lisa Nandy promised to “never interfere” in devolved policy making in Scotland if she wins the Labour leadership and believes the party’s stance on independence should be shaped by Scottish Labour.

She told Aberdeen’s Evening Express that she was opposed to Scottish independence, but that Labour’s decision whether to support another referendum “should be driven by Scottish Labour”.

Sir Keir advocates for federalism, championed by former prime minister Gordon Brown after the Scottish independence referendum of 2014.

He wants “large-scale devolution of power and resources” that would involve ”building a new long-term political and constitutional consensus”.

Should Labour fail to win over the Scottish electorate, it could face the prospect of being in opposition for almost a decade, something that Dr Diamond believes will the job of the new leader very difficult.

He said: “If you look at things as of today, they won’t win until 2024.

“That makes the job of the leader more difficult. You have to lead a party that’s probably going to be in opposition some time.

“They will need to keep things fresh and keep morale up.

“If the Brexit situation becomes chaotic it could open up things for Labour so it’s wrong to write them off.”


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