Sunday 29 December 2019


Eleven ousted Labour MPs and failed candidates have written an open letter to the Observer in which they bemoan their losses and mention Brexit just once.  Labour Remainers who lost their seats in the Brexit heartlands are in complete denial about the impact of their remoaning.  The odious Mary Creagh is the first signatory on the letter, still railing about Corbyn and the hard left while ignoring the fact her 63% Leave voting constituents were furious with her arrogant Brexit stance.  Likewise Anna Turley's 68% Leave voting Redcar constituents, the 68% Leave seat of Wolverhampton North East, 58% Leave Wrexham, 59% Leave Sedgefield and 58% Leave Stockton South.

To lay the blame solely at Corbyn's feet is disingenuous to say the least, particularly for the likes of Creagh and Turley, whose constant remoaning clearly riled their constituents.  Their letter is reproduced in full below.

We have all given significant periods of our lives to the Labour movement, most recently as MPs and candidates in the general election. We have been horrified by the damage that Tory government austerity has wreaked in our communities, crippling our NHS, starving our struggling schools and transport networks, normalising street sleeping and failing to keep our streets safe. Yet sadly, when it came to polling day, Labour was led to its biggest defeat since 1935. We lost seats in every region and nation with a swing against us in every social class – with the biggest swing against us from the poorest people.

The scale of this defeat means that we have to look unflinchingly at what went wrong, way beyond a simple review, welcome as that might be. We need to be honest about why our outgoing leadership’s reflexive anti-western worldview was so unpopular and address the reasons.

We were rejected on doorsteps not just because of our woolly, changing position on Brexit, or in Scotland because of our weak commitment to the union, but because the very people we were supposed to be fighting for did not think the policies in our manifesto related to their lives. The focus on nationalisation and uncontrolled spending commitments meant people simply didn’t believe us. Sadly, this was particularly true with those most affected by the poverty and injustice that 10 years of Tory government has created.

Lastly, cronyism at the top of our party and repeated unwillingness to stand up to the stain of antisemitism were constantly relayed back to us on the doorstep, shaming the traditional values of our once great anti-racist party.

We are devastated that, across the country, we can no longer help our residents to whom we have devoted ourselves, still struggling under a Tory government. It is our duty to speak up now, so that our leadership candidates keep these people at the heart of their campaigns to lead our party.

The challenge for the eventual winner is immense. We need to win 150 seats in every corner of the country, gaining votes from a coalition of communities. Labour needs to be in government – and for that, fundamental change at the top of our party is required. Only this will help us recover from the catastrophic loss of 12 December.

Mary Creagh, former MP for Wakefield
Emma Reynolds, former MP for Wolverhampton North East
Anna Turley, former MP for Redcar
Dr Paul Williams, former MP for Stockton South
Gerard Killen, former MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West
Martin Whitfield, former MP for East Lothian
Mary Wimbury, Labour candidate for Wrexham
Sheila Gilmore, Labour candidate for Edinburgh East
Ashley Dalton, Labour candidate for Rochford and Southend East
Kate Watson, Labour candidate for Glasgow East
Phil Wilson, former MP for Sedgefield