The Labour Party’s purpose when it was founded over a century ago was to win power in parliament on behalf of working people and use that power to enact change.

In power, that is what the Labour Party has always done; enacted positive change.

Everything the party is proud of, that transformed the country, stems from that founding purpose; the NHS, the minimum wage, equality laws and every legislative achievement of Labour governments. 

All of those achievements depended on being on the government side of the House of Commons. That sometimes means making the tough choices necessary to make the changes required.

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Losing manifestos achieve nothing. The irony is that when the Labour Party makes the wrong choices — in leadership and in policy — it simply paves the way for the triumph of the Conservatives. The result of my party’s latest self-indulgence is a Conservative majority of 80 and the worst Prime Minister this country has ever seen.

And now, amid the ruins of Thursday’s shattering defeat, is the question of whether the Labour Party can ever be rebuilt and if the membership will make the right choices or continue to blame everyone else from the media to the electorate.

It didn’t have to be this way. Boris Johnson was desperate for an election based on the false promise that he could “get Brexit done” when his so-called “deal” is not even the end of the beginning.

Jeremy Corbyn, aided and abetted by the LibDems and SNP, played into his hands and voted for this election against the advice of most of his MPs. That’s why I didn’t back it.

The manifesto had the right analysis of a broken economy but the prescription was too extreme for the electorate. 

The Green sections were revolutionary and what is required to save the planet but will be in the recycling bin as we lost. This election was fought on a dream programme for the Labour Leadership, his closest advisers and his loudest cheerleaders with complete command of the party and election strategy.

This result is entirely and eternally owned by them. Their legacy is a huge Conservative majority, a Union in intensive care, and a Brexit nobody wanted.
I’ve been criticised for being honest but I won’t stay quiet as the existence of my party is at stake.

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Time after time I, and candidates all over the UK, were told on the doorstep: “I have always been Labour but I can’t vote for you because of Jeremy Corbyn.”

Never again should Labour candidates be put in the absurd position of having to reassure voters, who had previously been Labour, that it was safe to vote for them to be the local MP because the party nationally had no chance of winning.

We have let the country down and all those millions of people who need a Labour Government.

So, what must happen now?

First, leadership. If the Labour Party doesn’t listen to the public and elect a leader who can create a strong opposition that is a credible alternative government, then we don’t deserve votes.

The greatest danger would be to try to carry on with more of the same view but with a different face and voice.

Second, the party needs policy that is realistic and achievable. The manifesto didn’t inspire voters; it scared them. Voters do want more investment in their public services. And Labour is right to argue for that but they did not believe what we were offering. We need to give hope for a better tomorrow, not hark back to a better yesterday.

Finally, we need to be principled and honest. We need to show what we stand for. It is in the national interest to try and stop Brexit so we should have always argued for that. It is in the Scottish national interest to stop a second independence referendum so we should also always argue for that. 

On these huge issues, if you stand in the middle of Constitution Street you are likely to get hit by a car.

The Labour Party is on life support but we have a chance to save it. We must listen to the public and take that last chance. Otherwise, we may lose the only party that is capable of delivering the long-lasting change we need for our country.