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Electoral Geography of Great Britain – The UK Labour Party

Labour in 1950 won working class and many mixed urban seats and all industrial and mining seats, but also performed well in many rural seats, especially in Norfolk where it had three MPs. Its changes since are a mirror image of the Conservatives.

It lost most mixed seats in the 1950s to the Conservatives but won them back in 1964 and in 1966 made inroads into some suburban areas and medium sized cities such as Cambridge and Exeter and the Government sponsored New Towns in the SE such as Harlow and Basildon.

It weakened considerably in rural areas in 1970 and lost mixed industrial/suburban areas, the New Towns and even some industrial constituencies to the Conservatives in 1979 and 1983. In contrast, apart from the SNP successes in 1974, it gradually became the dominant party in Scotland.

From 1997

In 1997, Labour achieved its highest ever number of seats with gains in all types of seats. It lost seats in 2005 and 2010, especially in the South and Midlands, but is performing better than in the 1980s in Scotland, London and the North.

Tony Blair did not believe his election team in 1997 when they said that Labour had won Hove and many of these seaside constituencies are now marginals when they were safe Conservative in the 1980s.

Although Labour took Corby, Northamptonshire, from the Conservatives in 2012, they have had to campaign hard against the UKIP surge. UKIP has seen increasing support coming from the Labour Party’s ‘core’ vote many of whom went against the ‘Labour line’ on the European Union referendum to remain in the EU.

In 2014 there were only 617 votes separating The Labour Party and UKIP when the votes had been counted in the Heywood and Middleton by-election. This should have been an easy win in a Labour heartland.

From 2015

At the 2015 General Election UKIP failed to take any seats from Labour but came close second places in several areas. In 2015 Ed Miliband resigned as Leader of the Labour Party with some fearing that not only had he not appealed to voters but that he had taken the party too far to the left and away from electoral success.

Miliband was replaced by Jeremy Corbyn, a man even further to the left of the party, who has been dogged by shadow cabinet resignations, open public defiance and challenges to his leadership.

Labour failed to win the 2017 General Election, yet Corbyn remained Leader as the Conservatives under Theresa May went backwards and lost their majority.

Labour has faced challenges over defections to a new party, which initially called itself Change UK. Change UK was a response not only to Corbyn’s leadership style but the mixed stance on Brexit and accusations of anti-semitism. Accusations of anti-semitism and the perceived failure of the Labour leadership to manage it have caused a fraction with Jewish MPs and voters.