Labour lost voters' trust – it can win it back by uniting to prioritise local communities, Putney MP says

Labour must earn back the trust of voters by showing leadership and choosing genuinely local candidates who know their communities, the MP in the party’s only 2019 gain seat has said.

Fleur Anderson’s success winning the London constituency in 2019 ended up being the single seat Labour won off the Tories in an otherwise abysmal night for the party.

She says her success can be repeated elsewhere in the country – if the party focus on professionalism, unity and prioritising candidates who are engrained in the constituency.

“I think people think we couldn’t be trusted to run the country,” she said. “There’s a lot of understanding of what we do, but maybe not trust of what we do.

“That was a factor in Putney because we have Labour in power in [London Mayor] Sadiq Khan so people see Labour leading. I think that really helps in Wales as well.”

As a former councillor and local resident, who was selected a year before the election, she says she had plenty of time to get to know the issues that mattered to her constituents.

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She argued Labour’s focus should be about “standing up for local people” and then applying the party’s “shared values” to a national electoral strategy. “Listening is important, and that doesn’t mean one focus group and then you move away,” she pointed out.

But Ms Anderson is concerned that rows over Sir Keir Starmer’s plans for electoral reform – which she said has been sprung on members in the days before conference to try and get it bounced through – would overshadow the policy discussions she wants to see.

“I hope we don’t see all of the divisions in the party. We have a wide spectrum of views in the Labour Party but I don’t like all the factionalism,” she said.

“I want conference to talk about opportunities, I’m worried it’s going to just be us talking between each other again and it is a shame because we can’t get our main message out to potential voters, and they’re the most important people who want to change the country.”

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