As the field of candidates to be the next Labour leader is narrowed down to five – Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Jess Phillips, Emily Thornberry and Lisa Nandy – the party remains divided on the best way forward following last month’s humiliating electoral defeat under Jeremy Corbyn.
There has been much talk from all of the candidates of reconnecting with voters put off by either or both of Mr Corbyn and the party’s position on Brexit.
But the confusion around whether or not a leadership hustings will be held anywhere in Yorkshire speaks volumes about the lack of understanding at the top of the party about what has gone so wrong.
Over the weekend, several Labour MPs in the region expressed their anger that the party was seemingly going to swerve Yorkshire as one of the locations for the leadership hustings after a list of planned venues was published online.
Among those to speak out have been Sheffield Heeley’s Louise Haigh, who is based in South Yorkshire where the Conservatives won three seats – their first election victories in the county since 1992 – and Batley and Spen’s Tracy Brabin, who lost four West Yorkshire colleagues and saw her own majority more than halved.
The party indicated yesterday that there will in fact be an event here but only hours after Sir Kier had joined calls for hustings in every region of the country.
It does not bode well for Labour’s attempts to regain lost Yorkshire voters that local MPs and even leadership candidates were seemingly unaware of the plans for a Yorkshire event, until the public outcry forced a clarification.
However, wherever and whenever an event is held in Yorkshire, it represents a vital opportunity to hear from the candidates, campaigners and Labour members who experienced first-hand the opprobrium of many voters towards their party.
It’s time to listen and truly change.