Focusing on Brexit as a cause for a fall in support for the two main parties in the local elections is too simplistic and a clear “radical vision” is needed to appeal to disenchanted voters, a senior Labour councillor has said.
Michael Payne, who is deputy leader of Gedling BC, a Nottinghamshire CC councillor and a group officer for the Labour group at the Local Government Association, said there was disappointment his party were unable to make the gains required to take control of the LGA.
But he said the party had fought in “difficult territory” as most of the elections were held at district councils where Conservative support is traditionally strong.
Cllr Payne said: “This is not as simple as whether parties are leave or remain. For me, there is something more complex going on.
“Whatever party can set out a clear plan, not just about Brexit but about the challenges the country faces, they will reap the benefits.”
He added there is a genuine desire among the electorate for parties “to set out a radical vision for the country’s future” and “some of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies have done that”.
On gains made by the Liberal Democrats and independents, Cllr Payne said the political environment was “febrile and unpredictable… with a lot of people vying for control” and Labour must rise to the challenge.
He said: “They appealed to the electorate because they had portrayed themselves as insurgents against the status quo and the establishment.
“We can be the insurgents by never being satisfied with what [Labour councils] have done and constantly strive for improvement.”
But Cllr Payne added that Labour “clearly needs to think long and hard” about losses in traditionally Labour supporting areas such as the Tees Valley.