-- Advertisement --

Tom Watson says Labour needs to be more pro-business to win back its ‘natural supporters’

-- Advertisement --

Stay in touch!

Sign up to be updated with Evolve's latest stories, and for opportunities to get involved.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson says that he is ‘hugely disappointed’ that the party lost the Copeland by-election earlier in the week and, in a veiled dig at Jeremy Corbyn, he called on the party to become more pro-business again in order to win over Labour’s ‘natural supporters’.

Speaking at the Scottish Labour conference in Perth, Watson said:

here in Scotland you’ve seen what happens when Labour’s long-term supporters stop voting Labour.

And, implying that he believed the party is losing its ‘natural supporters’ because the party is too anti-business, Watson said that Labour:

have to make it clear that we are on the side of the people who create prosperity as well as those who need the security of good jobs.

Watson’s call for a return to Blairism comes just hours after failed leadership contender and arch-Blairite, David Miliband, said that he was ‘deeply concerned’ about the party’s future.

Despite the right-wing’s concerns about the party’s prospects, Tom Watson ruled out the possibility of yet another leadership coup, stating that:

this is not the time for a leadership election, that issue was settled last year.

Whilst it’s fair to say that Labour’s loss in Copeland was a terrible result, the seat had never been a traditionally ‘safe’ Labour seat. Labour had won just 3 of the constituency’s 11 previous elections by more than 10% of the vote ahead of the Tories – meaning that elections in the area were always tight.

Also, given that Copeland’s residents enjoy the third highest salaries in the UK (£721 a week, second only to the City of London and Tower Hamlets), it’s hardly surprising that there was a swing away from a left-wing Labour towards a staunchly pro-wealth Tory party.

However, whilst Watson’s assertion that Labour aren’t pro-wealth enough are relatively justified in relation to affluent areas such as Copeland, the same cannot be said for Labour’s heartlands.

Labour’s ‘natural supporters’ are the working class, and they are never going to be won back by a pro-business Labour party. Labour’s lurch towards neoliberal corporatism was the defining reason why it was wiped out in Scotland, and Blair’s legacy continues to be a huge issue of distrust amongst Labour’s once loyal working class support in northern England.

There are huge problems in the Labour party at the moment, and with a majority of MPs unwilling to fully get behind their leader’s anti-establishment message, it seems unlikely that Labour’s woes will end any time soon.

-- Advertisement --

Evolve needs your help more than ever!

We rely on the generosity of our readers to help fund the majority of our work - but we need a little more to make ends meet and enable us to grow.

If we can reach 1,000 regular subscribers, we will become entirely financially sustainable - and we'll also have a little extra so we can build upwards and outwards to make our work have an even bigger impact.

In the last month alone, our work on the Environment Bill has helped force a change in the law for the better. And, since Evolve was founded, our uniquely viral style of journalism has repeatedly put the establishment on the back foot and helped force genuinely positive progression.

But we want to do far more - and we need your help to do it.

The best way you can help us is by becoming a Monthly or Annual subscriber. This kind of regular income allows us to better plan for the future - firstly so we can pay the bills, and then so we can set aside funds and time to work on extra projects.

However, if you can't commit to a regular payment, one-off donations - no matter how small - also make a big difference to us, and we genuinely make the most of every single penny.

So, if you appreciate the work that Evolve does and you want to see us make an even bigger impact on the world, please think about contributing to our work in whatever way you possibly can.

Tom D. Rogers

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Jess Miller

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Subscriber-Only Comments