Margaret Beckett spurns Labour ‘reconciliation’ tag

THE senior Labour MP chairing a post-mortem into the party’s disastrous general election campaign has rejected interim leader Harriet Harman’s description of it as a “truth and reconciliation” commission.

Margaret Beckett is leading an inquiry into the disastrous Labour general election result. Picture: PA

Veteran former cabinet minister Margaret Beckett said she aimed to use the process to listen to what voters thought about the offer made to the them by Labour at the May 7 election.

But she dismissed the “truth and reconciliation” tag used by Ms Harman, which echoed the name of the restorative justice commission set up in South Africa following the fall of apartheid.

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“It’s not called that at all,” Dame Margaret told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Explaining how she intended to conduct the inquiry, she said: “Basically, we need to know exactly what happened, because there are lots of different patterns of voting in some quite interesting ways, even though they are ways that are not welcome to me.

“We need to look and see and listen to people about what they actually think, as opposed to what other people are saying they think.”

Ms Harman said the inquiry would deliver detailed analysis of what went wrong in Labour’s campaign, and insisted that the party would not “tear ourselves apart” as it raked over its mistakes.

The process was being launched as Labour MPs Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Mary Creagh continue the battle to succeed Ed Miliband as leader.