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Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour must listen to voters after poor results

PUBLISHED: 11:45 04 May 2018

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suffered disappointing result in the local elections
Photo: PA / Victoria Jones

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suffered disappointing result in the local elections Photo: PA / Victoria Jones

PA Wire/PA Images

It appears we have passed peak Corbyn.

Labour were expecting a bloodbath for Theresa May’s Tories at the local elections – but in reality it has ended up being a hugely disappointing result for the opposition.

Their campaign resembled the one employed with such success at last year’s general election: door knocking and an all-out ground war.

But the voters that backed Jeremy Corbyn not even a year ago have vanished. Has the electorate turned its back on Labour?

The Conservatives remain weak nationally. People on both sides of the Brexit debate are confused at the government’s stance and are worried about the cabinet’s fragility. Add to that the recent Windrush scandal and the fact that governments tend to perform badly at mid-term pools and Labour should have delivered Mrs May a solid boot up the rump.

They failed. Mr Corbyn has failed.

But why? Well in Barnet the answer seems obvious. The toxicity of the row about anti-Semitism has impacted the vote. And yet it is an issue Mr Corbyn could have, and should have, sorted out a very long time ago.

There is a wider pattern here – Mr Corbyn’s Labour is not very good at listening to the people. There is a belief that their ideology is exactly what Britain needs and nothing, not even an unresponsive electorate, will get in the way of that.

These results provide an opportunity for Mr Corbyn though – but it is one I doubt he will seize. This is a decent snap shot of what the country is thinking right now – and it appears they are not thinking about voting Labour. Mr Corbyn must listen and change course. He needs to be clearer, he needs to be cleverer and he needs to take control of his party.

Mrs May on the other hand will once again feel she has dodged a bullet. There have been numerous occasions when her leadership has been in peril and on each of them she has survived. This is another.

The fact the Tories did well in areas that voted Leave – and swallowed up the UKIP vote almost entirely – will also give heart to the Brexiteers in her party and the cabinet.

It will be seen as a message that the core Tory vote is not going soft on Brexit and will embolden the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson.

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