POLITICS

Labour Must Reject 'Rag-Bag' Progressive Alliance Despite 'Awful' Poll Numbers, Says John Healey

03/01/2017 09:23
Jonathan Brady/PA Archive

The answer to Labour’s problems is not to form an alliance with other centre-left parties despite a report warning the party has “almost no chance” of winning the next election, a shadow minister has insisted.

John Healey this morning said he agreed with Len McCluskey, the general secretary of hte Unite union, that Labour’s current position in the polls was “awful”.

But the shadow housing minister told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I do not see the answer to Labour’s challenge is being team up with the Lib Dems, the Greens and rag-bag of other parties.”

A YouGov survey yesterday put the Conservatives on 39%, Labour on 24%, Ukip on 14% and the Lib Dems on 12%.

Healey was responding to a report by the Labour-aligned Fabian Society think-tank which said it was now unthinkable that the party will win enough votes to govern alone.

Its analysis of polling and election data suggests that Labour is likely to win between 140 and 200 big city and ex-industrial constituencies on as little as 20% of the vote, which would be a further retreat from the 231 seats it currently holds.

And the party must position itself in the centre-ground, as it is losing as many votes to the pro-EU Liberal Democrats as Ukip and the Tories, meaning it must find a way to appeal to both Remain and Leave voters in a political landscape now defined by Brexit.

The think-tank recommended that it should consider calls to form an alliance with the Lib Dems and SNP or other centre-left parties as the UK’s political system continues to fracture.

Fabian Society general secretary Andrew Harrop said: “As things stand Labour is on track to win fewer than 200 seats, whether the next election comes this year or in 2020.

“Even if Labour recovers it has almost no chance of securing a majority in a general election, because it needs over three million more votes than the Conservatives to win. Labour’s aim for now should be to move forwards not back and win enough MPs to be able to form a governing partnership with other parties.”

Healey said the report was a “serious warning” but said it also pointed out Labour’s problems “pre-date” Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.  

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