THE BLOG

The Beckett Report Isn't Enough, It's Time Jeremy Corbyn Opted for Full Transparency

25/01/2016 17:31 GMT | Updated 25/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Two weeks ago nearly 600 Labour Party members and activists signed a change.org petition calling on the release of the crushing 2015 General Election post mortem analysis: the Beckett Report.

In commissioning the report the then interim party leader, Harriet Harman MP, claimed that the investigation would be both a quantative and qualitative inquiry which 'would leave no stone unturned'.

Alongside calls from a number of MP's that petition played no small part in ensuring that the report, long believed to be locked in a bottom drawer somewhere in the leader's office, was duly released.

The problem is increasing evidence is coming to light that rather than being a forensic dissection of the party's appalling result the report is in fact something of a whitewash.

Criticisms were made very quickly that Dame Margaret's assessment seemed, to a degree, to abdicate responsibility. Seriously could anyone who had door knocked in the run up to the election believe that Ed Miliband was not a significant contributory factor?

Disclosures are now coming thick and fast that in fact as opposed to being a definitive account of the election defeat numerous much more forensic pieces of work have been conducted by the party looking at the true reasons for defeat.

Academics and authors of the authoritative election study 'The British General Election of 2015' Philip Cowley and Dennis Kavanagh claim in their recently published book that in addition to the Beckett Report party officials commissioned another investigation called 'What Happened', the results of which have never been published.

Only yesterday highly respected pollster Deborah Mattinson disclosed that she had worked for the party conducting focus groups in constituencies including Nuneaton and Watford, where Labour had significantly underperformed last May, but evidence from those sessions was largely absent from the final Beckett Report.

Details of some reports have now, inconveniently for the party, been leaked to the Daily Mail.

The problem is that whilst the Labour Party sits on evidence arising out of the analysis of defeat huge numbers, both party members and eventually the voting public, will find it hard to believe that the party has really taken the time to learn the lessons of defeat. Certainly what cannot be allowed to happen is a constant drip feed of damaging information being leaked out of the Labour party organisation.

It's for that reason, despite the fact I'm usually hugely averse to them, that I have launched a second e-petition calling on the leadership to release all reports commissioned by the party in the wake of the election defeat.

Jeremy Corbyn has long been an advocate of openness and transparency, it is only days since he rightly called for a strengthening of the Freedom of Information Act.

The truth is however that the principles of transparency don't just apply to government, they apply to the Labour Party too.

There is not one Labour Party member who doesn't want to see the party back in power in 2020. The only way that is possible is to make sure we learn the lessons of five years previously.

You can sign the change.org petition by visiting https://www.change.org/p/jeremy-corbyn-release-all-reports-commissioned-in-the-wake-of-labour-s-2015-general-election-defeat?recruiter=360743932&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink