Category Archives: Labour’s future

More data showing Yvette Cooper as the only choice for a radical, credible Labour Prime Minister


It seems from yesterday’s reaction there’s a real interest in the facts about who’s now placed to unite all wings of the Party and give us a radical, credible Labour Prime Minister.


So here’s a bit more of YvetteforLabour’s internal data, based on thousands of phones calls over the last few weeks proving only Yvette can unite all wings of the party and beat Mr Corbyn.


First, who’s set to win where?


Yvette’s first preference support is drawn from every part of the country – while Andy’s is very concentrated in the North West and the North.


And crucially, our data backs up the You Gov poll, which shows Yvette is the clear challenger to Jeremy in the South East and Greater London where over a quarter of Labour’s membership is based. Andy is in fourth place here. So on these facts alone, Yvette is positioned as the best placed candidate to beat Mr Corbyn.


But, here’s something fascinating. Since Yvette’s big speech last week there’s been a huge surge in Andy and Liz supporters telling us they’ll give Yvette their second preference.


Back in July, 49% of Andy’s supporters said they would second preference Yvette. Now it’s a whopping great 65%.


And amongst Liz’s supporters, the margin is even bigger. In July, 74% of Liz supporters said their second preference would go to Yvette. Now (ie the end of last week), it’s an overwhelming 89 – yes EIGHTY-NINE – per cent.


So: it’s pretty clear. Only Yvette can beat Jeremy. And those voting for Liz don’t have to worry about Andy going out early and pushing Jeremy into first place. That is quite simply not where his supporters are.


OVERALL, Yvette is ahead of Andy on first preferences – and is the clear second preference choice for both Andy and Liz supporters.  It’s as simple as that.




If you would like to get involved with Yvette’s campaign you can find more details here:


Only Yvette can beat Jeremy Corbyn – and give us a radical, credible Labour Prime Minister



Only Yvette can beat Jeremy Corbyn – and give us a radical, credible Labour Prime Minister. 


Last week, Yvette delivered an absolute game-changer of a speech in Manchester – and on the phones there’s been a brilliant response. Lots of people have said that they were voting for Jeremy Corbyn BUT are now giving their first preference to Yvette because they want both a radical and credible Labour Prime Minister.


But some people have asked me – especially supporters of the excellent Liz Kendal – if my old mate Andy Burnham goes out first, won’t his second preference votes go to Jeremy – pushing Jeremy into first place??


Well, here’s the facts.


Over the last couple of weeks Yvette’s team has spoken to nearly 2,000 people who said they planned to vote Andy first (and just so you know the team’s surveys have Yvette in front of Andy on first preferences as well – especially in London and the South East where there’s big numbers of Labour members).


But a massive 66% of Andy Burnham supporters said they were giving their second preference to Yvette. Just a tiny 13% said they planned to second preference Jeremy or Liz.


What does that mean? It’s simple. When Andy goes out, the overwhelming share of his vote goes to Yvette – putting her clearly on course to beat Jeremy in the final round.


The conclusion: as much as I welcome the way Jeremy has shaken up the policy debate, only Yvette can really best him to become Labour leader – and our next Labour Prime Minister.


So for those of my friends who are voting Liz Kendal – or Andy first, you can be confident about where your second preferences should go.


They need to go to Yvette Cooper.


This article appeared on the New Statesman website on 16 August 2015 –




Your vote for the next leader of the Labour Party

Dear Friend,

Lots of people are asking me for my advice on the Labour leadership contest – and who we want as our next Labour Prime Minister – so my advice is simple: vote for Yvette Cooper for leader, and Tom Watson as deputy.

Here’s why.

The Labour leadership is a tough job: it needs radicalism, new ideas, experience – and the ability to unite the country.

Because lets be blunt about it: unless we can win back the seats we lost to the Tories, we can’t win a majority in Parliament.

And the Labour Party was created to create a way for good people TO ACTUALLY RUN THE COUNTRY.

If we don’t have a Labour government in Downing Street, we can’t change the lives of people in Hodge Hill – who desperately need a Labour government.

So ask yourself this before you vote: which Labour candidate do you believe can stand on the steps of No 10 Downing Street, and then get down to the hard graft of running the country.

I’ve known the leadership candidates in this race, for nearly 20 years – and that’s why I’m backing Yvette Cooper and Tom Watson. They’ll be a brilliant team.

Yvette has already proved, in Government and in Opposition that she has what it takes to take on the Tories.

Yvette is setting the policy debate – the credible candidate for Prime Minister

Yvette knows our message in the last election was too narrow. She’s the candidate focused on the future – already she has outlined proposals to increase childcare, to build more homes and tackle shameful levels of child poverty – and crucially has the plan to create two million new high-skilled manufacturing jobs.

You can hear more about Yvette’s plan for the Labour Party here:

Yvette will nail Tory myths on the economy

Yvette has nailed the Tory myth of supposed Labour overspending in Government. Given the economy is a central issue for every election, Yvette is the candidate who understands how vital our economic credibility is to winning in 2020.

The candidate who can win

I passionately believe that we need a leader that can unite our party, then win in 2020. We cannot afford to vote for the candidate of our comfort zone – we need to back the person that can deliver the Labour Government that our country so desperately needs. Yvette is that person.

Tom Watson for Deputy Leader

Of course you will also be voting for the next Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.

For me the choice is easy – I will be voting for Tom Watson. I am backing Tom because he will rebuild our party from the grassroots up. We’ve suffered a defeat and Tom is the man to help us rebuild, he is a formidable campaigner and will help us connect with millions of new voters. I saw his legendary organising skills first hand when he helped run my by-election campaign to become Hodge Hill’s MP in 2004.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to discuss my choices or just share your thoughts.

Best Wishes

Liam Byrne

Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill

PS – If you are giving your first preference to another candidate, please consider voting for Yvette or Tom with your second preference – it really could make all the difference.

If you would like to get involved with Yvette’s campaign you can find more details here:



Redshift – Looking for a new England – 22 July 2015


Dear friends,


England is changing – and to win back power, Labour must change too.

At the last election, England decisively shifted blue. Now Labour now needs a plan for a red shift.

We believe progressive parties win when we own the future.But too many people think we belonged to the past. The electorate is changing rapidly. The world of work is dramatically altered. Communities are changing shape. Generational shifts in values are under way. Many feel left behind. Yet vast new forces of trade and technology are speeding up.

So we need to go back to basics. To draw on the real experience and insights of English people today, inside and outside the workplace. To show how we can re-energise the ways Labour values can transform real lives.

Red Shift brings together a group of English Labour MP’s and activists determined to shine a spotlight on how England is changing, how peoples’ ambitions are changing – and how Labour needs to change to win.

The group will publish its first report – Looking for a New England – on the changing world of work and politics at party conference in September.


You can read the group’s op-ed in today’s Daily Mirror here.

Visit the Red Shift website and tell us what you heard at the General Election here.

My analysis on the changing electorate

Dear Friends,

Here is my latest analysis of how the electorate is likely to change between now and the 2020 election.

This is a piece I wrote in the Telegraph and a piece by the Telegraph’s Chief Political Correspondent, Christopher Hope.




By 2020 over 55’s could outnumber under 35’s by a ratio of 3:1

Over 55 Majority

Pensioner benefits rose by four times the amount that benefits for families and working age children rose over the course of the last parliament.

Pensioner Benefit rises

Pensioners are the largest voter bloc – and continue to grow.

The New Electorate

There may be 1.5 million more voters over the age of 55 by the 2020 election.

1.5 Million more over 55's

Labour Leadership and Deputy Leadership Hustings come to Birmingham – TOMORROW – Saturday 27 June 2015


Dear friends,


In just a couple of months’ time we will be casting our votes for the next Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.


Before voting opens, our Leadership and Deputy Leadership candidates are being put to the test in a series of hustings events being held across the country. This Saturday (27th June) the hustings are coming to Birmingham.


What: Labour Leadership and Deputy Leadership Hustings

When: From 10:30am on Saturday 27th June 2015

Where: New Bingley Hall, 1 Hockley Circus, Birmingham, West Midlands B18 5PP


This is your chance to put your questions to the candidates and hear them make their case for why they want to lead our party. Everyone is welcome, so feel free to bring friends along – they don’t need to be a Labour member to come.


Places are going fast but you can always put your name down for the reserve list – reserve your seat here.


If you could help out being a steward or signing people in I know the Regional Office would love to hear from you; contact Douglas Bridger on: or 0121 569 1908




I have already decided who I am backing…


I’ve given my support to Yvette Cooper for Leader and Tom Watson for Deputy Leader.


I am backing Yvette because she has a clear vision for a new Britain – one where everyone can succeed. She has proved again and again that she is the right woman for the job. I believe she is the leader we need; she has experience both in Government and out, she understands that if we are to win we must reach out to Tory voters, and I believe, she stands the best chance of being our next Prime Minister and leading a Labour Government.


I am backing Tom because he will rebuild our party from the grassroots up. We’ve suffered a defeat and Tom is the man to help us get back on our feet, he is a formidable campaigner and will help us connect with millions of new voters. I saw his legendary organising skills first hand when he helped run my by-election campaign to become Hodge Hill’s MP in 2004.


We need to hear your voice too – I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!
With all best wishes



Re-shaping the radical centre – lessons from the 2015 election


Dear friends,


You may have seen my piece in the Sunday Times yesterday on lessons for the Labour Party from this year’s election.

You can read it here or below: 



You can access a set of slides which sum up my argument; here.

Reshaping the radical centre




Liam Byrne MP – Sunday Times – 14 June 2015


How Labour rebuilds the radical centre


It was the election that ended one of the oldest myths in progressive politics.

Depressed by decades of Tory dominance, Labour’s 20th century thinkers thought they knew the answer. Reunite the centre left, bring together Labour and Lib Dem visions, voters and voices, and hey presto a new ‘progressive majority’ would be born.

Well now we know the truth. In 2015, the Lib Dems collapsed to the status of a fringe party. And who prospered? Not Labour. But UKIP, the SNP and ultimately the Tories. The jury is in and the verdict is simple. You can’t build a radical centre in British politics around some mythical ‘progressive alliance’ of Lib Dems and Labour. Because it doesn’t exist.

Let me confess I find this a painful conclusion. The notion of the ‘progressive alliance’ has a long and distinguished history on the left. And few were better makers of the case than my predecessor in Stechford, Roy Jenkins. Urged on by Roy, Tony Blair and Paddy Ashdown chewed the fat for years fathoming what might be possible.

But, as Churchill once said; however elegant the strategy it is wise to occasionally look at the results. And the results of the 2015 election are very clear.

Amongst Labour’s target seats, victories were few and far between. The 22 seats we did win –  like Cambridge, Lancaster, Bradford or Dewsbury – were by and large alike: they were either home to large numbers of ethnic minority voters or what marketeers call ‘urban intellectuals’ – university educated, middle class, and quite possibly enjoyers of the Guardian.

But let’s look at the target seats we lost to the Tories. There were 74 of them in England and Wales. Here the Lib Dem vote collapsed as we knew it would. But Labour’s disastrous ‘35% strategy’ – aka ‘a Hail Mary pass’ – aimed to mobilise a risky, narrow core vote plus a few and had assumed one in three grumpy Lib Dems would come our way. So what happened? Nothing of the sort.

In the target seats we lost to the Tories, the Lib Dem vote collapsed by an average of 6,585 – but more than two thirds sailed right past us and went to UKIP; their vote rising by an average of 4,853. The remaining Lib Dem losses split between Tory and Labour – and the Tories took the bigger slice. We won on average just one in 13 of the fleeing Lib Dem voters. So much for the progressive alliance. Worse, in 33 of the target seats we lost, not only did the Lib Dem vote fall – but the Labour vote fell as well. The Lib Dems quite simply were not and are not a reservoir of closet lefties.

What are the conclusions for people like me who want to rebuild and dominate the radical centre in British politics?

I think three basic ideas stand out.

Number one. There is no substitute to building a bigger stake in what Keith Joseph once called the ‘common ground’ of politics. This isn’t some kind of triangulated, dead centre split-the-difference position between Tories and Labour. As Keith Joseph explained; ‘the middle ground is a compromise between politicians unrelated to the aspirations of the people, the common ground is common ground with people and their aspirations.’  We need to own the common ground – not triangulate with the Tories.

Second, we have got to renew our radical roots and win back support from the radically minded, often collectivist, anti-establishment voters who today see UKIP, the SNP and the Greens as a better home than Labour. They should be ‘our voters’. And unless we make it so, we’ll be in opposition for ever.

This means we need not Blue Labour, but ‘blue collar Labour’. Blue collar workers dominate the seats where both the Lib Dem and Labour vote fell – seats like Burton, Nuneaton, Dover, and Harlow, where I grew up and started my working life in McDonalds, later spending a happy summer as a white van driver. Labour’s share of the skilled working class – once 50% back in 1997 – is now down to just 32%. It barely improved on our disastrous 2010 performance. This is why the Tories blue collar Conservatism is such a smart move. Yvette Cooper is right when she says: we have to win back the towns once again.

To this we need to add ‘Green Labour’, because in 43 of our target seats the Green vote went up by more than the Labour vote. I spent most of the campaign on the road with the Labour Students minibus. Our amazing younger activists were very blunt with me: if we want to own the future we have to become far greener in policy and character.

Third, we have to be the party of older voters and not just the young. I’ll put this as gently as I can: Labour is facing a demographic time-bomb unless we transform our standing with older voters.

We had a brilliant offer for young people at this election. Our Youth Manifesto, co-written by young people, was magnificent. At its centre was our most expensive £3 billion pledge: to cut tuition fees and raise grants. But we had little to offer the over 65s – and what happened? The Tory majority amongst over 65s soared to almost 2 million votes – more than the overall Tory Majority.


We had almost nothing to say to older voters beyond our warnings about the imminent collapse of the NHS. Meanwhile the Tories hammered away about stability, Ed Miliband, the triple lock on pensions and access to pension piggy-banks that sounded like free gold for a golden retirement.


We must never again fail to be the party that speaks for older Britain. And the conclusion for our leadership debate is quite simple. If the next Labour leader does not connect with older people – especially older women – then quite simply we will lose again. Remember at the next election there will be 1.5 MILLION more voters over 65 as the baby boomers retire – and 40% of voters will be over 50.

If there’s one thing I learned from my political hero Tony Blair, it’s that when modernisers stop modernising we fail. We have a mountain to climb to win back power. But Labour’s history tells us that we’re great mountain climbers when we dare to face facts, grasp nettles – and change.  Today, trade, technology, the world of work, and demographics are completely re-shaping the radical centre of British politics. The coalition we need to win back is now clear.


Let Labour’s change begin.


Labour is listening on Science – Byrne Speaks at Labour Science policy Breakfast – 29th October 2014

Dear Friends,

This morning I spoke to a wide range of business leaders about how Labour’s science policy can help create the jobs of the future.  It was an opportunity for Labour to set out its strong commitment to an ambitious plan for research and innovation. It was also a chance to hear from the science community about how to take this conversation forward.

We talked about how Labour’s approach to science and innovation are central to our priorities: skills, regional growth and the NHS. I was also able to share the key insights from the responses we’ve already had to Labour’s Science Green Paper, ‘Agenda 2030: One Nation Labour’s plan for Science’ which I published over the summer. The paper can be found here.

Labour will continue to listen to businesses and experts as we further develop our policy for science and innovation. Our goal is clear: to build an opportunity economy with high skilled jobs and wages to match.


Science Breakfast Picture

Liam Byrne publishes ‘Robbins Rebooted’ – laying out a vision for 21st Century Higher Education and university reform – 28 August 2014


Dear friends,


Today the Social Market Foundation (SMF) has published my pamphlet entitled ‘Robbins Rebooted’.


You can view an electronic version of the pamphlet here.


In it I set out options for reform of Britain’s universities to boost the country’s knowledge economy and open high paying technical and professional jobs to the ‘forgotten 50 per cent’.


These options draw together hundreds of conversations that I have had with university and college leaders, academics and students over the last six months in Britain, Europe, India and China.


Invoking the ‘white heat’ message of Harold Wilson’s government, elected 50 years ago this year, I argue that reformed universities are now key to fostering more high paid jobs in the ‘light speed’ global digital economy.


The following are the ‘big five’ ideas which university and college leaders, students, teachers and researchers want to hear debated:


1. ‘Technical Universities’, a collaboration of employers, major university science and engineering departments and colleges, offering students the chance to study a new ‘earn while you learn’ ‘Technical Degree’

2. A revolution in links between colleges and universities based on the US-style community college movement.

3. Reform of research funding to support British universities in creating global ‘Star Alliances’ of the world’s best scientists with longer term research support.

4. A big increase in university enterprise zones to better link universities to regional growth.

5. A new revolution in access to higher education, with a new national advice service to support young people into higher academic and technical education, support for university-school trusts, an expansion of the Open University’s Massive Open Online Courses and a new partnership between the Workers’ Education Association and UnionLearn.


I would love to hear your reflections on the pamphlet so please do get in touch.


With all best wishes




Scientists for Labour respond to One Nation Labour’s Plan for Science – 11 July 2014


Dear Friends,


The consultation on our recently published green paper on science continues. Yesterday it was great to see Scientists for Labour publish their response ‘Policy Plan’ which can be read here. The publication is accompanied by a piece in Progress Online by Mike Galsworthy of SfL which can read here.


The consultation on One Nation Labour’s plan for science, which can be read here, is open until 1 August and throughout this consultation Labour will be listening to researchers, businesses and voices across the science community. I look forward to reading more fascinating responses such as this one.


If you would like to feed in to Labour’s science policy please send your views on the Green Paper to by 1st August


With all best wishes




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