John Harris

Journalist & Author

Sleaford proves Labour isn’t connecting with the 52% – or the 48% | John Harris

First came Richmond. Now this dismal byelection result shows the party is all at sea on Brexit-tossed political waters, left behind by a tide of change

“Clearly for us, this was not the result we might have hoped for,” says a senior Labour MP of the party’s grim showing in the Sleaford and North Hykeham byelection. “The challenge for us was because of Brexit. Everything was about Brexit. The messages about the A&E, the NHS, the messages about infrastructure, all of that got lost to an extent in the swirl around Brexit.”

Well, there it is: pesky old Brexit. If only Britain were not in the midst of its most highly charged political period for decades, if only leaving the EU had not captured the political imagination of a sizable part of Labour’s old core vote, if only many remain voters weren’t cottoning on to the much more primary-coloured message of the Lib Dems … well, then all would be for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

Related: Stark warning for Labour as party slips to fourth in Sleaford byelection

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