Labour bosses under fire for lack of leadership hustings in former heartlands won by Tories

Posted On: 
13th January 2020

Labour bosses have come under fire for failing to organise key leadership debates in areas the party needs to win back at the next general election.

Labour insists it will hold hustings across the country.
PA Images

The party has only arranged seven hustings so far in Liverpool, Durham, Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Glasgow and London - all areas where the party continues to do relatively well.

Critics claimed that Yorkshire and Humber, the east Midlands, eastern England and the south east have all been ignored by those drawing up the itinerary.

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By contrast, last year's Tory leadership contest featured 16 hustings in venues across the UK.

Leadership candidates have lined up to call on Labour officials to have a re-think and arrange extra dates.

In a letter to Labour general secretary Jennie Formby, bookies' favourite Keir Starmer said: "I am disappointed that the party has chosen not to organise leadership and deputy leadership hustings in every Labour Party region and nation.

"I am concerned that this decision does not reflect well on the Party and will be a step backwards in the whole movement’s determination to take the argument for a radical Labour Government back to the country."

Lisa Nandy told PoliticsHome: "As I have repeatedly said, the Labour Party has lost seats for the first time in our history in areas like Bolsover, Wrexham and Stoke and the failure to debate the future of our party in communities like these shows that we are part of the problem and have to change."

Meanwhile, Jess Phillips tweeted: "It will take a lot more than holding a local hustings to win back trust in the seats we lost at the general election, but it would be a start. Let’s have more events in every region and nation - and not just in big cities!"

Rebecca Long-Bailey's campaign team were contacted, but had not commented at the time of publication.

Labour sources insisted that hustings will be held in other parts of the country, including the east of England, Yorkshire and the east Midlands.

A Labour spokesperson said: "We will hold hustings right across our country in venues chosen to be accessible to as many party members as possible."