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Labour Party must learn from Manchester – Graham Stringer MP


The Labour Party’s so-called “red wall” may have crumbled in some of their Greater Manchester heartlands on a night of electoral disaster, but it remained rock solid in the city.

Despite losses in Bury North and Bury South, Heywood and Middleton, Leigh, and Bolton North East – and dozens of seats across the country – Graham Stringer was re-elected as Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton with a majority of over 14,000.

And Mr Stringer believes that, nationally, the Labour Party can probably learn something from how it organises in Manchester.

The rise of Momentum, backers of Jeremy Corbyn, has seen a lot of idealistic young people joint the Labour Party – and that was a good thing, says the former leader of Manchester city council, who was elected to Parliament in 1997.

“They were the future of the party. But many have been let down by “old crusty Trots”. They will look at this result and realise that you can’t batter the electorate into submission.

“It doesn’t matter what your policies are if people don’t trust what you are saying. People have to believe that you are going in a similar direction and not living inside some separate bubble.”

Mr Stringer sees some parallels between the young idealist supporters of Corbyn and his own early career. He and his colleagues, who took over Manchester town hall in 1984, turned away from hard left policies after Margaret Thatcher won her second landslide victory three years later. And Labour has run Manchester successfully ever since.

Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters insisting in defeat that Labour had the most popular policies and that Brexit skewed the results, Mr Stringer says that Brexit, for which he has been a leading campaigner, was only ten per cent responsible for Labour’s worst election defeat for decades.

The main cause, he insists, was the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and his close colleagues.

He said: “This result could have happened two-and-a-half years ago except that Theresa May persuaded people that it was a choice between Corbyn and herself and they chose Corbyn.

“But Boris is different. He’s like Carlsberg lager, reaching the parts others can’t. Our policy on Brexit was inexplicable – it let down Labour and non-Labour supporters and it let down democracy.

“People basically didn’t trust the leadership. They didn’t trust that Jeremy Corbyn knew what he was doing. With Boris, they knew he was a rascal, but in some ways an attractive rascal who did actually get a new deal from Brussels when everyone said it couldn’t be done.”

Does he think Labour would really have delivered on its promise to reimburse three million women who lost out when the pension age was raised?

“No – unless he conjured £58 billion out of thin air.”

Mr Stringer added: “It’s all very well having popular policies on pensions, free wifi and a whole series of other goodies, but people have to believe them. And they didn’t.”


Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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