Labour must stop “obsessing” about diversity if it is to get the support of white working class votes needed to win an election, Stephen Kinnock has said.
The Labour MP said the party needed to stop practicing “identity politics” and “understand the role of the state is to manage immigration”.
Speaking at the London School of Economics on Monday evening, Kinnock said Labour should learn from Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Donald Trump.
“We have been a party that has been increasingly associated with standing up for certain groups in our society and not standing up for all in our society,” Kinnock said.
“We’ve been obsessing about diversity,” he added.
“The huge mistake we’ve made, we have played the game of identity politics and identified groups, whether it is by ethnicity or sexuality or whatever you might want to call it, rather than say, ‘we stand up for everyone in this country and that includes you, the white working class’.”
“What we need to see in the progressive Left in the country is an end to this identity politics. We need to be talking far more about commonality rather than what differentiates from each other - let’s talk about what unites us.
“Every group is actually struggling with the same problems of social mobility, the same problems of disempowerment, the same problems of feeling that they are being left behind. It doesn’t matter what the color of your skin is or what your background is. What matters is that you’re poor and you’re disadvantaged and we’ve got to be there to help and engage with every single one of you - not just those who seem to have been taken priority over others.”
“It’s critical now for the Labour Party to come out an say we want to build a country that has our values of compassion, of solidity, of cohesive communities.
“We are not going to be able to to that unless we demonstrate to people that we understand the role of the state is to manage immigration just as it’s the role to manage our health service, our education, our transport our infrastructure.”
Kinnock, the MP for Aberavon, said Labour should learn from the failure of Clinton to capture the White House. Exit polls suggest while Clinton won a majority of minority voters - she did not win enough to overcome Trump’s lead among white voters.
He said Clinton’s mistake was to “shout out” to the Latino community, the African American community and others during her campaign but not others. “If you are going not do it you better make sure you list of every group in your population. If you don’t - the results will be very clear at the ballot box.”