New Times,
New Thinking.

Labour’s left had an excellent election

Party’s most prominent lefties were returned with increased majorities.

By George Eaton

One of the notable trends from this election is that Labour’s left-wing MPs performed disproportionately well. Not one of the 13 members of the Socialist Campaign Group lost his or her seat, and several increased their share of the vote, against expectations.

In London, Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, increased his majority by 3.3 per cent to 12,401 and Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North, increased her share of the vote from 49 per cent to 55 per cent.

Elsewhere, John McDonnell, the chair of the Socialist Campaign Group and a former party leadership contender, saw his majority fall by only 1.6 per cent to 10,824 in Hayes and Harlington. And Kelvin Hopkins, MP for Luton North, increased his majority by 0.7 per cent, winning by 7,520 votes.

In part, this reflects Labour’s generally impressive performance in the capital. The Tories achieved a swing of just 2.5 per cent and won 28 seats, ten fewer than Labour.

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But I think it also reflects how voters tend to reward more independent-minded candidates and those who vote against their own party when necessary. And it is further evidence that the public is well to the left of Labour on Afghanistan, privatisation and inequality.

The party’s new MPs should take note.

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