'London intelligentsia' to blame for Labour's woeful Black Country performance - MP

An MP has hit out at Labour's "London intelligentsia" for talking down to blue collar workers in the Black Country and costing his party votes.

Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood
Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood

Khalid Mahmood said his party would never win back voters in the region who had deserted Labour unless it started respecting "what working people really need".

The Perry Barr MP said Labour had become London-centric and bogged down with "new fangled issues around identity" – and that Sir Keir Starmer had "failed to understand the message" of the party's disastrous 2019 general election result.

Mr Mahmood quit Sir Keir's frontbench last week after Labour suffered a series of heavy defeats in the local elections, including in Dudley, Walsall and Cannock Chase.

He told the Express & Star: "The Black Country has been our historical base of manufacturing and industry.

"They are very proud people and we are not giving them the dignity they deserve. People need good jobs, they need their respect.

"Until we understand that's what people want, and we continue to have these people from London taking down to us, we will never move forward as a party."

Mr Mahmood said has backed Sir Keir to turn things around but said that up to now he had "failed to understand the message of 2019".

"I get the message, because I'm out door-to-door listening to what people are telling me what their issues are," he added.

"For too long we have taken this position where we are looking at all these new fangled issues around identity, for example, rather than concentrating on what working people actually need.

"Let's get back to basics, instead of this London intelligentsia who want to talk down to people and tell them what's good for them.

"For most of them, 'blue collar' is treated like a dirty word, and we need to change that."

Meanwhile Sir Keir has reshuffled his frontbench, sacking Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz as Shadow Leader of the House.

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