Never Again: Lessons from Labour’s key seats

Sally Keeble, Will Straw


Labour went into the election wanting to achieve so much: scrapping the bedroom tax, reversing NHS privatisation, cutting tuition fees. Yet the party’s hopes of transforming the country were dashed by its failure to win in ‘key seats’, like Rossendale and Darwen, Northampton North and Thurrock, which were lost in 2010, and others, like Southampton Itchen, which were held narrowly five years ago.

In these seats the electoral pendulum swung further away from Labour. Understanding the dynamics of that defeat and the organisational and policy challenges it poses are a first step to making sure the party can win again in 2020.

Campaigning in these seats was political trench warfare. The candidates fought for several years, many of them full time, contacting thousands of voters, delivering millions of leaflets, and backing this up with community action. In this pamphlet they share the insights from their campaigns, into the lives of people who hold the key to election victory and what stopped them voting Labour this time.

With an introduction by Andrew Adonis and chapters from Jessica Asato (Norwich North), Polly Billington (Thurrock), Rowenna Davis (Southampton Itchen), Sally Keeble (Northampton North), Luke Pollard (Plymouth Sutton and Devonport), James Frith (Bury North) and Will Straw (Rossendale and Darwen).

Click on cover to view PDF