Labour MPs' anger after party snubs Yorkshire in leadership hustings

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Yorkshire Labour MPs have aired their outrage over leadership hustings not being held in the region, despite it being a key area in which the party haemorrhaged votes last month.

Key seats of Wakefield, Don Valley, Grimsby, and Rother Valley were just some among long-held Labour seats to fall in the December General Election.

But despite that Yorkshire has been missed off the list for events, released yesterday, where leadership and deputy leadership candidates will try to convince members to back them.

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The events kick off on Saturday in Liverpool, with events planned each weekend in cities including Durham, Bristol, Cardiff, Nottingham, Glasgow and London.

Sheffield Heeley Labour MP Louise Haigh. Photo: JPI MediaSheffield Heeley Labour MP Louise Haigh. Photo: JPI Media
Sheffield Heeley Labour MP Louise Haigh. Photo: JPI Media

There will also be hustings in the West Midlands and Bedford.

The Yorkshire Post understands the venue list is not finalised, however it was released onto the party’s website yesterday.

Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, tweeted: “The more I think about this the angrier I get.

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“I don't want to abandon communities in South Yorks, the North East, South Wales or accept we will never win them back.

“If we can't, we will never be a party of government again and frankly we won't deserve to.”

While Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontecfract, and Casteford, said it was “ridiculous” there would not be hustings locally. She said: “We need more people to be able to get involved in rebuilding our party and support in Yorkshire, not less.”

Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin added: “I lost four amazing colleagues in West Yorkshire alone. Why are we not having a hustings in Yorkshire? To win back the red wall we need to connect with the people who live there.”

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Hull East MP Karl Turner said: "It can’t be right, can it? We lost nine seats in Yorkshire and Humber yet no leadership hustings. Think we might need to listen and learn from the bitter experience from our incredibly hard working (now former) colleagues and their CLPs as to what went wrong?"

While former Scunthorpe Labour MP Nic Dakin sniped: “Well the powers that be are the ones that thought a December GE on getting Brexit done would turn out well so they probably think Liverpool’s just down the road from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.”

Candidates in the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader also criticised the party's decision to ignore parts of the so-called "red wall".

Frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer said he was "disappointed" debates would not be held in the South East, east of England or Yorkshire - where Labour lost several key seats.

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The Shadow Brexit Secretary, who has 68 nominations from the parliamentary party, tweeted: "I'm disappointed the Party hasn't organised hustings in the South East, East of England or Yorkshire. Labour can win the next election, but only if we win back people's trust across the UK.

"I'll be writing to the NEC tomorrow asking them to reconsider."

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who has 24 nominations, said: “The Labour leadership campaign can send a powerful message to the country about whether we are ready to listen. We can start by putting some of our hustings events in the places we need to win back.

"As I have repeatedly said, the Labour Party has lost seats for the first time in our history in areas like Bolsover, Wrexham and Stoke.

"The failure to debate the future of our party in communities like these shows that we are part of the problem."