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East Ham MP Timms says Labour must ‘re-learn same lessons’ after heavy election defeat

PUBLISHED: 18:58 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:53 17 December 2019

Labour's Stephen Timms speaks at the Newham election count after retaining the seat of East Ham. Picture: Andrew Brookes

Labour's Stephen Timms speaks at the Newham election count after retaining the seat of East Ham. Picture: Andrew Brookes

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Long-serving East Ham MP Stephen Timms believes Labour needs to “re-learn the same lessons” after a poor showing and heavy defeat in the general election.

Mr Timms emphatically retained the seat he has held since 1994 with 41,703 votes, but across the country his party won just 203 seats to the Conservatives' 365 - securing a large Tory majority in the next Parliament.

Mr Timms thanked the people of East Ham for "steadfast support over such a long time", adding: "It has been a real privilege to represent the community in Parliament for all that time."

Mr Timms said there were "some excellent policies in our manifesto" he would continue to fight for.

"I particularly mention housing, because with the scale of the housing crisis that people are having to contend with, there is going to have to be some big changes," he said.

East Ham Labour MP Stephen Timms and West Ham Labour MP Lyn Brown celebrate holding their seats with Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (centre). Picture: Andrew BrookesEast Ham Labour MP Stephen Timms and West Ham Labour MP Lyn Brown celebrate holding their seats with Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (centre). Picture: Andrew Brookes

"I think our proposal of a new programme of council house building is one that could make a real impact.

"There are other policies we'll need to continue fighting for as well, but unfortunately we're not going to have a government that's going to be wanting to implement them any time soon."

Mr Timms admitted it would be "a long haul" but the party needed to fight back and rebuild support.

"Some of us have been through this process before in the Labour party after very disappointing election results," he said.

Despite some good policies, Mr Timms said Labour didn't have "a credible overall package" in the end.

"I think that was the problem - people felt we were spraying money right, left and centre, and we can't do that if we are going to persuade people that we should be trusted with government," he said.

"We have to re-learn lessons that were learned.

"I was elected in 1994, Tony Blair became leader, changes were made and we're going to have to learn the same lessons again … about how to convince people we can be trusted with the government of Britain."

Mr Timms won East Ham with a majority of 33,147 from his nearest challenger, Conservative Party candidate Scott Pattenden, who received 8,527 votes.


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