Labour’s sudden policy blitz couldn’t have come sooner

Apr 18, 2017 | By Ben Nunn | Posted in Politics

Now an early General Election has been called, Incisive Health explores the prospects for the Labour Party.

Theresa May’s sudden change of heart on calling an early General Election came as a surprise to Westminster. And yet, over the past week, it has felt like Labour was already in election mode.

Jeremy Corbyn used the Easter recess to announce a suite of media-friendly policy announcements that were popular with voters, created dividing lines with the government and addressed criticisms that his party was weak on detail.

After a turbulent couple of years, Jeremy Corbyn and his team have begun to understand the functions of an opposition and how to craft a message that they believe will be popular with voters. This past week will put them in good stead for the next couple of months.

However, the challenge facing Labour is stark. The polls over the weekend show the Conservatives with a lead of more than 20 percentage points. Public trust in Jeremy Corbyn as a future Prime Minister is at an all-time low. Its platform on Brexit has not cut-through with the public. And many Labour MPs are expected to announce in the coming days that they will not fight this election.

At the start of this campaign, the question is not whether Labour will lose the General Election but by how much. Jeremy Corbyn’s job is to defy expectations and to convince the public, as he convinced Labour members two years ago, that his style of leadership is right for the country. Corbyn effectively used the television hustings during the 2015 Labour leadership contest to differentiate himself from others in the race. With the prospect of television debates for the third election in a row,  he now has the opportunity to do the same on the national stage. 

The task facing Labour at this election is monumental. How it will fare remains to be seen. 

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