A new review into the Labour party’s disastrous performance in the last election has said that the party has a “mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years”.
The review, which was carried out by organisation Labour Together, slammed the party’s showing in December, saying: “The strategy was inadequate, the organisation was muddled and the execution was poor”.
December’s election was won at a canter by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives, who took an 80 seat majority and made significant gains in Labour’s traditional heartlands, the so-called “red wall”.
Labour on the other hand lost 59 seats and saw its vote share fall by eight per cent, prompting the resignation of leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The review said that “negative feelings” about Corbyn had been a “key deterrent” for much of Labour’s voting base.
He was replaced by former director of public prosecutions Sir Keir Starmer in April.
However, the new report warned that a new leader alone would not be enough to propel the party back into Downing Street in 2024.
“It would be a mistake to believe that a different leader, with Brexit no longer the defining issue, would in itself be sufficient to change Labour’s electoral fortunes”, it said.
Instead, the review argued, Labour’s devastating defeat was a long time coming, with “deeper roots” to which the party needs to face up.
“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”, it argued.
“This loss is the story of more than one election—indeed it is a story that stretches back two decades”.
The 2019 defeat, it said, was down to three factors: the party leadership, lack of clarity over Brexit, and a manifesto which was “not seen as credible”.
The review’s commissioners, led by MP Lucy Powell, recommend a wholesale shake-up of the party’s electoral strategy.
“Our political strategy, organisation and campaigning infrastructure needs major overhaul.
“We must not shy away from necessary and tough choices if we are to rebuild our relationship with the country and revolutionise the way we engage and listen to voters”.
By the time of the next election in 2024, Labour will have been out of power for 14 years.
The report was compiled through a combination of a survey of 11,000 members and voters, as well as in-depth interviews with activists, organisers, candidates and party staff.