“Labour needs to be the party for everyone, Labour needs to be about social justice”: key local Labour members speak out about party failings

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Labour members met in West Bromwich last night to discuss what went wrong for the party at last year’s general election.

The meeting featured talks from Dudley North campaign manager Darcey Luke, and Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana, who were speaking on the record loss suffered by the Labour Party in December’s general election, where Labour lost seats in Northfield, West Bromwich and Dudley.

Coventry North MP Zarah Sultana on the failings of the Labour Party

Darcy Luke said that the failure suffered by the party can be attributed to “Electoral failures of the campaign, as well as the shifting of union structure since the 80s” and emphasising that unions “need to reorganise and the working class has changed.”

However, councillor and former candidate for Shrewsbury, Julia Buckley, said that Labour faced an impossible task facing Brexit.

“If we’d have backed Leave, we would have been taking the votes of the scraps of the 52%, as the Conservatives had become the party of Leave, and there was no winning for us.”

She added: “Labour needs to be the party for everyone, Labour needs to be about social justice.”

“The party for everyone”

Zarah Sultana MP also called for unity within the party. She said:

“I want an end to factions and infighting, we have to show that we care, and Labour must become the party of anti-racism.”

When asked about the policy failure of Labour in the election by a member of the floor, she said that “our votes in Parliament made it seem like the Tories were anti-establishment ironically.”

Once the conversation opened up to the floor, one of the common sentiments from the packed out conference room was addressed by Luke, that “Brexit seemingly became a symptom of Labour’s disconnect from the working class.”

Sultana said: “Austerity is what has destroyed local councils. We need a leader that can stand up to the Tories.”

Both Zarah Sultana MP and Darcy Luke have endorsed Rebecca Long-Bailey for Labour leadership, which will be decided in April.

The session was run by the West Midlands branch of the Labour Party as part of the Sunday Seminar Sessions, and will continue to run throughout the rest of 2020, up till the national conference in September.

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