Harriet Harman

Labour Member of Parliament for Camberwell & Peckham

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Press Release: Now is not the time to paper over the cracks – Harriet Harman, Interim Leader of the Labour Party, launches Labour’s ‘Learning the Lessons from Defeat’ Taskforce

Labour has set up a ‘Learning the Lessons from Defeat’ Taskforce, chaired by Party veteran Margaret Beckett MP, to look at the reasons the Party lost the general election.

The move is part of the four priorities Harman has for steering the Party through to the leadership elections on 12 September

Harriet Harman MP, Interim Leader of the Labour Party, commenting on the Taskforce, said:

“We cannot waste this defeat. It should, and must, have profound implications for the future direction of our party.

“Our leadership election is underway, but we must waste no time in kick-starting a forensic, honest examination of where we went wrong if we are to regain the trust of the British public.

“Now is not the time to paper over the cracks.

“We need robust discussion and analysis, which at times might not be comfortable, but it is necessary if we are to learn, rebuild, and regain the trust of those who lost faith in us.

“No stone must remain unturned as part of this work. We need forensic analysis of the data – swing, turnout, where we did well, where we didn’t. But numbers alone won’t tell us what we need to know.

“Alongside that analysis, everyone who had a stake in the election campaign, including the public, must be able to have their say. The Taskforce will oversee a process of engagement to face up to the brutal reality of our loss. They will draw on the experience of our candidates, those who won and lost, members, Party staff, affiliates. We want their views about the campaign, and critically, why it delivered the result it did.

“We will dare to look over the edge of the precipice at what happened.

“Over the past three weeks I have been to around the country speaking to our candidates, members, activists to seek their opinions and hear their experiences. Not only is there appetite for the robust discussion that our Taskforce will oversee, but it’s clear the Labour Party remains united and determined to hold this Government to account whilst we learn the lessons from our defeat.”
The Taskforce comprises representatives from all parts of the Labour Party – nations and regions, MPs and candidates, affiliates, local government and the membership.

It will take place in two parts. A rigorous analysis of the data including by national swing, region, Mosaic group and type and, gender, age and ethnicity. This will include qualitative and quantitive data. And secondly, a process by which MPs, candidates, Party staff and members will give testimony to the Taskforce in hearings held throughout the regions and nations. A website will also be set up to take online submissions.

The Taskforce will report to the new leadership and the NEC in September.

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