Last week’s result in the EU referendum was a hammer-blow to our party and more importantly the country. I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped deliver thousands of leaflets across the constituency during this campaign.
On this topic, I have received a number of emails referencing a petition set up to call for a second referendum. I do not believe that is how a democracy should work and believe we must respect the will of the people and negotiate an exit that is good for Britain.
Labour’s official policy position was to back Remain and convince our supporters that was in their best interests. It was expected that 70 – 80% of Labour voters would vote remain. However, in the end it is estimated that only just over 60% actually did. I felt that our campaign lacked references to the big issues of the campaign, in particular Immigration. You know as well as I do that this issue was raised numerous times and has been particularly prevalent in the last few campaigns in Rother Valley.
Our campaign, led by Jeremy Corbyn, looked out of touch with the issues that were being raised most often. I believe this will have led to many people who voted Labour in Rother Valley last year to consider whether they would ever do so again. Several non-party members have contacted me in recent days to highlight this point. Polling done for the Labour Party showed that 29% of the people who voted Labour in 2015 would not vote Labour in a general election today. That equals 3 million lost voters. These numbers open up the possibility of many ‘safe’ Labour seats being in play in an early general election, which would be horrendous for the people who need Labour most.
Jeremy is a nice and decent man, but he is not a leader. As I have raised at the GMC on numerous occasions I have had major concerns over some aspects of Jeremy’s leadership. Without a change, Labour could be slaughtered if an election is called in a few months which is now anticipated.
I have proudly served as the Labour Member of Parliament for Rother Valley for many years and served under six different Labour leaders. A major part of leadership of the party is to give your all to every campaign the party backs, unfortunately it is now clear that Jeremy, as he himself stated, only gave “7 or 7.5ish out of 10” for the most important campaign of our lifetime. That is why I have just voted in support of the motion of no confidence in Jeremy as Party Leader. I believe we need a party leader who can unite the party and take the fight to the Tories and UKIP.
Thank you again to everyone who campaigned, I know many of you will be saddened by the outcome of the referendum. I am more than happy to discuss any of these issues or the stance that I have taken.
Kevin Barron MP