Some conclusions on a truly unique election night

An overview from Hanif Leylabi / @hanifleylabi

Last night was unparalleled and a much bigger success than expected. It led to a very difficult situation for the Tory government and gave Labour a massive boost on a popular, ‘sensible left’ manifesto. The dust is settling, and over coming weeks Labour faces questions about where to go next. Here are some of the key things to take away:

1. Corbyn’s leadership on the Brexit referendum result positioned Labour as simultaeously the most trusted party for remainers while also trusted by enough leavers to avoid losses in leave voting areas.

2. Corbyn and his team *really* stepped up to the challenge of the snap election with a great media operation. The improvement was staggering. Labour’s outputs and messages framed the narrative of the whole election and they landed a string of perfectly timed and perfectly crafted killer blows.

3. Labour’s sensible, costed but left wing manifesto inspired, especially among younger voters. It challenged the common sense idea that we shouldn’t be investing to grow our economy and taxing the rich. Policy positions on policing and trident assuaged fears on security and defence.

4. New members turned up in large numbers to hit the doorsteps in a way he haven’t seen in elections thus far. This was central to delivering some impressive constituency results in what were thought to be marginal seats. Let’s harness that energy in between elections and develop it into a force for change, embedded in communities.

5. The unity forced on Labour during the election paid dividends. Those who supported the leadership challenge against Corbyn must now be humble and recognise their part in our dire poll ratings of a month or so ago. And I hold my hands up that while I recognised the negative impact the challenge had at the time, I completely underestimated its effect.

6. We did still lose the election and it’s not clear that the strategy of winning over non-voters would ever be enough to win a Labour majority. Corbyn’s personal ratings also remain a net negative. This result isn’t necessarily a mandate for him to lead us into a potential election in 5 year’s time.

7. What is undeniable is that Corbyn has delivered the first net gain of seats since 1997 and the largest share of the vote since 2001. By all measures, he has the sole right to carry on as leader and should expect a level of loyalty from the PLP.

8. The bottom line is that’s it’s still not clear what strategy would deliver a Labour government and constructive and open conversations must address this question. What is clear is that Corbyn is the only person right now with the mandate to take on that challenge of leading Labour to government. No one should expect subservience, but the destructive briefing and snide media interviews need to stop now and the PLP should roar when Corbyn next takes to the despatch box at PMQs.

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