Labour was wrong on issues such as immigration

Kate Hoey
Kate Hoey

Like most people who heard the exit poll at 10pm last Thursday I was shocked.

The 2015 general election was always going to be exciting but no-one predicted a Conservative overall majority, a Lib Dem wipe out and a total collapse of Labour in Scotland.

With Ukip coming second in 125 Labour and Conservative seats this really was a shake-up of the political system.

Three party leaders resigning immediately showed the strength of the earthquake.

At my own count, where I was delighted to have a big increase in my majority with 54 per cent of the vote, I kept a look out for the results here.

To have 11 pro Union MPs coming from Northern Ireland is welcome.

Particularly worth celebrating was Tom Elliott’s defeat of Sinn Fein in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

For too long people there have had no voice at Westminster and I hope Tom recognises that he is an MP as a result of votes from supporters of other parties too.

Though sad about William McCrea who will be missed at Westminster, I hope Danny Kinahan and Tom Elliott will work closely with the other NI MPs at Westminster to speak up for a part of the UK that keeps being sidelined in the widespread use of the word Britain rather than UK.

Maybe by 2020 there will be one pro Union party across the Province which can bring support from other traditions who are perfectly happy to stay part of the UK and just want to create a better life for everyone in Northern Ireland.

By then too I hope the Labour Party will have reversed their disgraceful ban on putting up candidates.

So what of the next five years at Westminster? Undoubtedly the EU referendum in 2017 is going to dominate along with how we deal with the SNP and the English question. There are many EU sceptics in the Labour Party too and our policy of refusing a referendum was just wrong.

Labour has had its worst defeat since 1987 and we now need a fundamental examination of where we got it so wrong.

London is different from the rest of England and our new leader has to be someone who really can show that our party listens to people outside the establishment bubble of Westminster.

We failed to win the support of those who are aspirational for their children’s future. Social mobility matters to them.

We cannot be a party that only seeks solace in our traditional voter. We have to move away from our comfort zone and stop believing our own propaganda to the extent that we always have to rubbish other party’s views.

Many of our policies were rightly standing up for the less well off but they were put forward in a way that seemed we had to demonise the better off in order to help the poor.

A new leader is not the magic wand to win. We have to face up to the truth that we were on the wrong side of many of the main arguments – economic competence, immigration and Europe.

No point in blaming our defeat on voters.

The old name calling of right and left,old Labour or new Labour are dead and in all our analysis of the defeat we must recognise the old politics has gone.

New parties like the Greens and Ukip are here to stay.

The voting system needs to be re-examined.

Nearly four million votes for UKIP gave them one MP whilst one and a half million for the SNP gave them 56.

There is no quick fix for my Party and the first step on the fight back ladder will be to recognise this.

• Kate Hoey is Labour MP, Vauxhall