U.K. Labour Faces `Huge Challenges' to Win in 2020, Review Finds

  • Party needs 94 more seats to win majority in House of Commons
  • Policies must focus on Britain in 2020s, engage with business

Britain’s opposition Labour Party “will face huge challenges” if it is to regain power from David Cameron’s Conservatives in 2020, according to a report on the party’s failure to win last year’s election.

The review, led by former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, found the party had failed to broaden its appeal and voters in key target groups, such as the young and less well-off, had not turned out in sufficient numbers.

It points out that Labour will need to gain 94 seats to win control of the 650-member House of Commons. However, there are only 24 seats where the Tories have a majority of less than 3,000 over Labour, and only two in Scotland where the Scottish National Party has a majority of less than 5,000.

“We must set out a vision for the country’s future, which shows both what we
believe the country needs and what we will contribute to its achievement,” the report said. “We should spell out the vision in language which is as clear, simple and inspiring as we can make it.”

Labour has failed to make up ground on the Tories in opinion polls since Jeremy Corbyn took over as leader in September after running on an anti-austerity, anti-nuclear weapons platform. Several leading Labour politicians have refused to serve in his team of spokesmen, and the party has been riven by dissent over his policies and style of leadership, with four spokespeople resigning earlier this month.

Policy making “must be focused on the likely condition of Britain in the 2020s,” the report said, noting that the post-World War II welfare state is being called into question in “our changing society.” Labour “should recognize that it is in Britain’s interest to have a strong and internationally competitive private sector” and engage with the business community “in developing an economic strategy to return Britain to a path of sustainable growth and improved productivity.”

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