The future of the left since 1884

Never Again: Lessons from Labour's key seats

What lessons need to be learned from Labour's 2015 election defeat and in particular from the key battleground seats?


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).

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How to purchase

Copies are available, priced £9.95, from the Fabian Society. Call 020 7227 4900, email or send a cheque payable to The Fabian Society to 61 Petty France, London, SW1H 9EU.


Will Straw

Will Straw is the founder of the political blog Left Foot Forward and is the associate director of the Institute for Public Policy Research.


Sally Keeble

Sally Keeble is a Labour Party politician. She was the Member of Parliament for Northampton North from 1997 to 2010.


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