The future of the left since 1884

Labour in rural England and Wales

The Fabian Society is researching how Labour can go outside of its comfort zone and perform better in rural areas. 


The Fabian Society is carrying out a research project into Labour’s discomfort in rural England and Wales. Labour performs poorly in rural areas, and even where rural constituency Labour parties are strong they tend to be dominated by those who live in the largest settlements. As Labour’s base becomes ever-more metropolitan, there is a widespread perception in the countryside that Labour lacks understanding of local concerns and how to solve them. The party is seen to dictate to rural communities, rather than being rooted in such communities and articulating a policy agenda reflecting their interests.

This research project will explore the reasons for the disconnect between rural populations and the Labour party, and discuss how the party’s culture, organisation, message and policy could change to earn the confidence of voters in rural areas. Please see this article, published on Labour List on 27 March 2017, for more information on the project.

A number of senior Labour figures sit on the advisory board for this project:

  • Ruth Davis, E3G
  • David Drew MP
  • Maria Eagle MP
  • Lord Maurice Glasman
  • Helen Goodman MP
  • Lord Jim Knight
  • Hywel Lloyd, Labour Coast & Country
  • Lisa Nandy MP
  • Lord Jeff Rooker
  • Baroness Royall (chair)

The Fabian Society is partnering with the Countryside Alliance for this project. As with all Fabian projects, the Society retains full editorial control.

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