John Leech MP: The door is not shut on Labour

Manchester Withington MP John Leech is due to speak at a Fabian Society fringe event at the Labour Party conference on Monday.

Titled “Is the Lib/Lab coalition Gone Forever?”, the event will also feature former Lib Dem MP Evan Harris, Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone and former Labour cabinet minister David Blunkett.

According to the Press Association, John Leech has said,

The door is not shut on the Liberal Democrat and Labour parties working together.

Labour need to re-think the mistakes they made over the last 13 years and get out of this immature opposition mentality that they appear to be so comfortable in now.

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  • Labour have more than 4 years to sort out their attitude, I cant see that as an insurmountable problem if the numbers are right. What we should keep in the back of our minds is that Labour may not survive, at least not as a major party.
    It wasnt just the Nations money that Labour spent so freely, they are left with debts of £20Million, about £120 per member. That wouldnt be such a problem if they werent riddled with mulpiple divisions & a mass of unsettled scores.
    We will get some clue to the state they are in from the voting figures this afternoon, particularly the turnout.

  • Pathetic the only way you can ever see yourselves in power is on the shirttails of one of the real partys.However dire the Labour partys position is next time I hope they tell you to get stuffed or just continue to be absorbed by the Torys.
    Why not become eurosceptic europhiles and join UKIP or diverse racests and join the BNP.

  • Of course, the fact that John Leech is the current very marginal tenant of a seat traditionally held by Labour in no way influences his opinion on this matter.Labour don’t ‘have to do’ anything,certainly not take advice from the Lib Dems.John Leech would be better advised explaining his party’s post election u-turn on early and massive spending cuts.

  • What this election showed is that there was space for a centrist/centre-left party and absolutely no space for a centre-right party.

    David Cameron moved his party over to the left to the fufill the same kind of right-wing economics but social liberalism that Clegg has tried to move our party over to (and it appears, succeeded). Part of the problem is that the synergy between Clegg and Cameron is not just faked, they really apparently hold the same positions. There is no future in the liberal democrats pursuing the same ground as a more liberal Conservative party.

    When Clegg told us left-wing members to p*** off he betrayed a deep misunderstanding of this party, a misunderstanding which becomes clearer when you take a look at the polls. You can’t campaign on a platform which is essentially to the left of Labour, take Labour voters, then tell them to bugger off. Neither does Clegg seem to recognise that not only the SDP which merged with the Liberals was fundamnetally ‘centre left’ but that the Liberal party itself has a strong left-leaning tradition itself.

    There is no place for us on the right…. Cameron is already moving his party over to the europhile european style ‘right-wing’ and he is using our party merely as a prop with which to pull his own party over to the left.

    At the next election there won’t be a space to campaign on Nick’s personal beleifs, because they are essentially Cameron’s…. Labour is the only realistic choice, not least because they are the most likely to win (hell according to the polls they would win by seats tommorow if there was an election).

  • I was making a short comment not writing a dissertation, but briefly-
    electral defeat, on its own doesnt usually destroy Parties, if they are solvent & united. Labours debts are also a Fact, refusing to talk about wont make them go away.
    If you want a concrete example of Labours divisions take alook at the AV referendum. Whatever formal position the leadership take there will be Labour activists working on both sides, as there were in 1975.

  • @paul barker

    if Labour are split on AV, how would you describe the coalitions position?

    As for John Leech, as has been said, the LibDems are in no position to play doorman. You need bridge builders not doorman, to build as many of those bridges that Clegg has burnt.

  • Sunder Katwala 25th Sep '10 - 1:52pm

    the event follows a well attended and constructive sister fringe debate at the LibDem fringe, with Norman Lamb, Richard Grayson, David Lammy and myself, reported in detail here

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Sep '10 - 1:55pm

    One thing I thought was interesting in the YouGov survey of Lib Dem members was the finding that 46% against 26% favoured a deal with Labour rather than the Tories if there were a hung parliament after the next election, other things being equal. Which again suggests that the shrill right-wingers who we hear so much of on LDV aren’t representative of the membership as a whole.

    As for John Leech, one can’t envy his position, as an MP with a majority of less than 2000 over Labour, in a constituency with a large student population, almost entirely surrounded by Labour seats, with boundary changes on the way. In his shoes I think I would be devoting all my waking hours to campaigning for a “Yes” vote in the AV referendum …

  • Terry Gilbert 25th Sep '10 - 2:04pm

    One would imagine that there are many who are not ‘shrill right wingers’ but who wish to keep quiet for the time being, at least in public. The upcoming elections for party federal committees will give a truer guide to the relative strength of factions within the party.

  • I suspect very few were at all disposed towards coalition with the Tories. The fact is that an anti-Tory coalition would have needed the Nats (probably OK for most Lib Dems) and iron discipline among Labour ranks – the likes of Blunket and Reid not rocking the boat.

    It was impossible, Labour was in a mess too many fundamentally illiberal beasts and totally unwilling to brook alliance with Scot Nats. Continuing with Gordon Brown would have been pretty much impossible too.

    Refusing a coalition would surely have been worse for LibDems, with the prospect of another election within months and a likely Tory overall win. It would have delayed one or two cuts perhaps, but it would have been bad for Lib Dems.

    A problem will arise however, when the Tory right start rocking the boat.

  • @avid page

    Look on the members forum

    “Nick Clegg: There is no future for us as a party of the left”

    And Clegg told us that there is no room in the party for disaffected Labour party voters. Which is amusing, considering that the SDP could pretty much be considered to be precisely that: a block of disaffected Labour party voters and members.

  • @Martin

    “Refusing a coalition would surely have been worse for LibDems, with the prospect of another election within months and a likely Tory overall win. It would have delayed one or two cuts perhaps, but it would have been bad for Lib Dems. ”

    The question we are going to have to ask ourselves at some point is whether this still would have been preferable to what we have now, whether the share of the vote at the end of the four years will be far less than it would have been in a minority then majority Conservative government. I’m not sure the minority Conservative governent would have had to collapse anyway.

  • Roy’s Claret Army,

    Last month, Nick Clegg stated, correctly, that the Iraq war was illegal under international law. Last week (and much to the undoubted horror of the Foreign Secretary) he said UK foreign policy is formulated according to “liberal values”. Clearly, on foreign policy, Nick Clegg is well to the left of Labour, which threw itself at Dick Cheney’s feet. And he remains to the left of Labour on economics, too, despite being an Orange Booker. To the left of Labour’s record, that is, as opposed to the current rhetoric. After all, it was the Liberal Democrats that called for and succeeded in taking the poorest people out of taxation, something Labour had never seen fit to do.

    Jon Leech is a hate figure for Labour tribalists, because he took a Labour seat that had previously been Tory. I’m sorrry, if Labour activists want centre left politics to succeed in this country, they are going to have to work with people like Jon Leech.

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