Winning England: An open letter to candidates for Labour Party General Secretary

Today, our Director John Denham, wrote an open to all the candidates standing for the new Labour Party General Secretary.

In his letter John says the role of General Secretary is crucial to Labour winning in  England and among English voters.

John’s letter is below:

Dear General Secretary candidate

The English Labour Network was established last year. You can find more information about our aims and activity here. With the support of MPs, council leaders, councillors and activists from across the party and across England, the Network aims to be

  • ‘For Labour in England’; helping Labour to win in every part of England
  • ‘For England in Labour’; helping to ensure that Labour has a clear focus on the issues and challenges facing the people of England.

Labour must win England to form a government that has a clear mandate to deliver Labour policies. We must win constituencies that are largely outside the metropolitan and university cities where we did so well in 2017. Many are in smaller towns and coastal areas that have not benefitted from economic and social change and are also where voters are more likely to emphasise their English identity.

England is also the most centralised nation in Europe. It will be impossible to close the gaps between the most prosperous places and regions and the rest of England without a radical redistribution of power and resources from central government in London.

The General Secretary of the Labour Party has a crucial role in defending the rights of Labour members in England, and in making sure that the Labour Party is politically, and organisationally, equipped to win in England. For that reason, we are writing an open letter to candidates for the position to pose five questions about your approach to English issues. We hope that all candidates will want to respond, and we will, of course, publish all replies:

– How, politically and organisationally, should the Labour Party win the target seats in England outside the metropolitan areas (and where voters are more likely to identify as English)?

– The Labour Party publishes manifestoes for Scotland and Wales, but not for England. Would you support an English manifesto at the next election?

– Do you support the principle that Labour Party members in England should make policy on issues of English domestic policy? If so, how should this be done?

– How would you support local Labour councillors in England, working with local Labour Parties, to deliver the policies they believe are in the best interests of local people?

– The Labour Party is committed to four new bank holidays, including St George’s Day. How would you advise Labour party members to lead celebrations and campaigns on St George’s Day that reflect our party’s values and tradition?

With best wishes

John Denham

Director of the English Labour Network, j.denham@eln.org.uk

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