Revealed: Labour high command planning for TWO elections – 2024 and 2026 – with ‘the longest and most expensive ever rolling general election campaign’

by Atul Hatwal

Labour high command has begun planning for a single general election campaign that does not end with the next general election but continues through to the election after that. The rationale is that while Labour will likely win the next election, the majority will be sufficiently narrow to make a quick-fire return to the polls almost inevitable.

Speaking to multiple sources, Uncut understands that expectations across the shadow cabinet are for a majority between 10 and 40 with a clear understanding that even a majority of 40 would likely be unworkable to deliver the scale of change needed by the country.

Labour won 202 seats in 2019 and to achieve a majority of 40 at the next election would mean winning an extra 158 seats, significantly more than the boost of 146 seats that Tony Blair secured in 1997.

Even if the upper end of expectations was somehow reached with a majority of 40, a rebellion of just 20 Labour MPs could derail government plans. Currently the hard left Socialist Campaign Group has 35 MPs with a swathe of other backbench Labour MPs, most of whom are likely to be in the next parliament, disgruntled with the leadership and already identified as likely serial rebels.

The experience of the Lib Dems in the 2010 coalition which resulted in their near total wipeout at the 2015 election combined with the nature of seats that they are currently targeting – Blue Wall, long term Tory bastions where voters have a historic hostility to Labour – means that the prospect of anything other than a slightly augmented confidence and supply agreement with Ed Davey’s party is remote.

A vulnerable majority would not only place huge constraints on policy but the longer the parliament ran the more Keir Starmer’s authority would be eroded as the political debate increasingly focused on Westminster psychodrama rather than the government’s agenda. The fate of past PMs with narrow majorities such as Theresa May, John Major, Jim Callaghan and Harold Wilson, looms large in the thinking of key figures around the Labour leader.

Uncut understands that the current ‘golden path’ out of this quagmire is viewed as a first victory followed by 12-18 months of competent Labour government with a short programme of defined policies that deliver measurable and tangible results for voters, before going to the electorate again to seek a broader mandate for change. The logic is that country’s desire for change would still be prevalent, Labour could still represent that change and the Tories would likely have lurched further to the right under a new leader and might even be in the throes of a civil war.

From an internal Labour party perspective, the practical result of this approach would be that the bulk of Labour’s general election staffing are likely to be kept on after the next election, rather than ramped down as normally happens, with a relatively seamless segue from the previous election campaign into an new election campaign to shore up recent gains and win the extra seats required to give Keir Starmer the majority of 70 or more needed to govern stably.

Underpinning this strategy is the need for a huge war chest to run a full throttle election campaign that will run into the second half of this decade. Union and corporate fundraising resources are expected to be bolstered as the priority to raise money becomes even more acute. As one source said to Uncut about the two-election plan, “Get ready for the longest and most expensive ever rolling general election campaign.”

Atul Hatwal is editor of Labour Uncut

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