An official Labour report on the party’s recent general election defeat, conducted by former deputy leader Margaret Beckett, suggests four reasons for the unexpected result.
Elements of the report leaked to the press propose that:
1. The party failed to shake-off the myth that Labour was responsible for the financial crash, and failed to build trust in the economy.
2. There was an inability to communicate a popular message on benefits and immigration.
3. Ed Miliband was seen as a weaker leader than David Cameron.
4. The electorate feared a Labour minority government propped up by the SNP.
Notably, the Beckett Report does not propose that the party suffered from being too left wing. Indeed, the document implies that policies such as the Mansion Tax were widely popular.
Some media outlets have been quick to pronounce that Beckett's findings thus vindicate Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. However, given Corbyn’s low ratings – only marginally higher than those recorded at the start of Ed Miliband’s tenure – it is unlikely that Corbyn will be viewed as a stronger leader than his Conservative competitor in 2020. Moreover, Corbyn’s principles, including his pro-immigration stance and support for a large welfare state will put him at odds with the electorate. Indeed, a sceptical approach towards immigration and a tough stance towards benefits underpinned the Tories’ successful election campaign in 2015. Corbyn will therefore perhaps not take as much comfort from the Beckett Report as many have suggested.
It is expected that Margaret Beckett's findings will be officially published next week.