Why did Labour lose the 2019 UK general election?

On election night 2019, Labour supporters watched in horror as the count revealed Labour's worst election performance in recent history. In the wake of the party's worst night "since 1935", Labour members and analysts attempt to dissect what went wrong. Was it the party's stance on Brexit? An unpalatable leader in Jeremy Corbyn? Or a misguided election strategy?

The manifesto

Unlike in 2017, when a strong manifesto carried Labour within a hair's breadth of victory, the 2019 manifesto was ill-thought-out.

No preparation

Labour failed to lay the necessary groundwork for many of the policies contained in its 2019 manifesto.

Too radical

The Labour manifesto's tack to the left and embrace of radical policy ideas alienated swing voters and independents.

Tried to be everything to everyone

The manifesto tried to do too much, and in doing so, did nothing.

Election strategy

Labour's election strategy was misguided. It wasted resources on trophy seats and failed to recognise the need to shore up campaigns in Labour's Northern heartlands.

Momentum only helped friendly candidates

Rather than helping the party as a whole, Momentum acted as a party within a party, only lending assistance to candidates aligned with its ideology.

Chasing trophy seats

Labour wasted resources chasing trophy seats they had no chance of winning.

The strategic masterminds were gone

The big-name strategists that managed to guide Labour to its strong 2017 election performance were missing from the 2019 election.


The 2019 election was dubbed 'The Brexit Election' but Labour's Brexit policy was confusing, ill-defined, and failed to acknowledge the will of the people.

No clear message

Labour stalled and delayed the announcement of its Brexit position. The end result was a muddle Brexit policy that failed to land with voters.

Ignoring the will of the people

Labour's decision to position itself as a Remain party ignored the will of the people as articulated in the 2016 referendum.

The story is in the data

The data shows that Brexit was a major factor in voter's decision at the ballot box.

Brexit caused a structural shift in the electorate

The structural shifts brought about by Brexit dismantled Labour's base.

Jeremy Corbyn

Phil Wilson, the Labour candidate who succeeded Tony Blair in Sedgefield summed it up when he said "the party's leadership went down like a lead balloon on the doorstep."

Weak on anti-Semitism

Allegations of anti-Semitism have been rampant in the Labour party for the last three years. Corbyn was ineffective at stamping anti-Semitism out of the party.

Didn't appeal to working class voters

Corbyn, as a middle-class Londoner, couldn't connect to the working-class Labour voters in the North of England.

Support for Irish Republicans

Corbyn's support for the Irish Republican cause went down horrendously on doorsteps.

Couldn't be trusted on national security

Jeremy Corbyn repeatedly demonstrated that he could not be trusted to protect British national security interests.

A strong Tory showing

The numbers suggest that it was the Tory strengths, not Labour's failings, that determined the 2019 election result.

Labour's vote share was comparable to previous elections

In many areas that Labour lost to the Conservatives, their vote tallies were similar to previous elections in which they had won the seats.

A streamlined manifesto

The Tory manifesto was more streamlined to cater to key voter interests.

Tories ditched the austerity

The Conservative Party ditched the unpopular policies of days gone by.


The age divide between Labour and Tory voters, as well as class and racial divisions, played to the Conservatives' favor.

Labour lost its hold on working-class voters

The Corbyn led Labour was unable to hold onto the working-class voters that once helped them retain power. Corbyn's manifesto was too radical for rural heartland voters to support.

Scotland no longer provides added Labour support

While never a haven for the Tories, Scotland once provided a solid result of Labour seats. In the last decade, calls for Scottish Independence have shifted the party support and lost crucial Labour votes.

The media

The mainstream media was unabashed pro-Conservative and vilified Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour party.

Pro-Conservative media created a hostile environment

The pro-Conservative media environment whipped up anti-Labour public sentiment.

They lost because of lies

The Conservatives lied far more than Labour.

Boris treated 2019 like 2016

Boris Johnson ran his campaign like the vote Leave campaign in 2016.
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This page was last edited on Thursday, 19 Dec 2019 at 13:55 UTC