Interview: ‘A devastating and seismic result for Labour’ says Manchester success story Lucy Powell

Labour have faced a catastrophic result across the country, as even seats once considered safe have fallen one after the other to a bulldozing Conservative campaign.

However, in Manchester Central at least, the party has held onto some of its home territory. Veteran candidate Lucy Powell maintained a comfortable majority of just under 30,000 votes.

Whilst this does represent a slight reduction in her majority, she has survived the severe losses suffered by Labour throughout the UK.

Powell, however, voiced sadness and concern over the severity of Labour’s defeat.

“Such an overwhelming defeat means we really do need to look deeply and profoundly at what has gone wrong,” she said in her acceptance speech.

“That means an honest, objective, serious analysis about how we can reshape our party for the future.”

Her tone was reflective of the mood of many Labour representatives, who watched the results pour in with increasing frustration and disbelief.

Powell is not willing to lay the blame for this catastrophe for Labour in any one place, telling MM: “I think this goes beyond just an issue with Jeremy or the leadership. There have been big shifts coming in politics for a while. Brexit was actually a wake-up call for some of that.

“We’ve got to take a long, hard look at ourselves here, there are many issues at play that will need profoundly addressing if we are set ourselves back on a course for being electable again. A quick change of leader will not suffice.”

Nonetheless, in spite of this small Labour bastion weathering the Conservative storm, Powell is under no illusions that the next five years will be very difficult for the people of Manchester.

“I think people in Manchester will suffer greatly under a Conservative government, as they have done already, whether it’s around being tied into debt on universal credit, or stuck on hospital waiting lists, or not being able to feed their kids and being driven to food banks.”

Under further austerity and uncertainty over Britain’s position in the world, these realities are set only to increase in the near future.

“I’m not looking forward to being in Parliament with a big Tory majority, I’m really not, watching them just do whatever they want, whenever they want. That’s deeply depressing.”

Manchester Central, among an ocean of blue, has declared itself a fortress of the Labour Party. For Lucy Powell MP, and the people of Manchester Central however, the challenge is only just beginning.

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