Margaret Beckett blames the Daily Mail for Labour losing working class voters

7 December 2019, 17:22

She said that a lot of it has to do with working class people voting against their best interests because of the right-wing press.

Some polls are now showing the Conservative Party leading Labour in working class support.

Matt Frei asked the Labour veteran: "Why have you lost the support of the working class with a prime ministerial candidate who's more on the side of the working class than anyone since Michael Foot?"

Dame Margaret Beckett said one reason is the "poisonous" Brexit issue.

She then continued: "We should be looking to the future. You say, quite rightly, that we had 10 years of austerity and people are very angry and some of that anger has come out in the Brexit vote about what it's done.

"But if you look at Boris Johnson's platform, that is a continuation of everything we've seen up to now. It's a continuation, the rhetoric is good but, you know, when people look at the numbers, it doesn't stand up.

"He's talking about continuing financial austerity. He's talking about process on Brexit that's going to drag on and on and on with negotiations for years, years and years.

Margaret Beckett blames the Daily Mail for Labour losing working class voters
Margaret Beckett blames the Daily Mail for Labour losing working class voters. Picture: PA

"He's just not very truthful about any of it. That's what is at stake.

I am horrified that there are people who are voting against their own best interest because of prejudices that they've allowed people like the Mail and The Telegraph to foster."

Matt Frei pointed out that there are people who are at food banks who say they cannot vote for Jeremy Corbyn. How, he asked, do you explain it.

Beckett said: "It's a phenomenon you see in every election, Matt. I mean to different degrees.

"But the number of times you canvass people who to put it bluntly don't seem to have anything to conserve, who say they're conservative, it's because of people's prejudices sometimes.

"It's because perhaps of what their mothers or fathers did. You know, the notion that people always recognise or want to vote in a way that is in their best interest, I'm afraid, doesn't stand up to practical experience.

"So you will always find that, and I think it's very, very sad. We don't put forward these policies because we hope those people who are will vote for us, we do it because it's the right thing to do.

Because the people who go to food banks need a change in policy and whether people are dependent on it or not dependent on it, that's what they should take into account."

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