UK Politics

Harriet Harman: Labour hustings should be televised

Harriet Harman Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Harriet Harman said Labour was "bruised" by its election defeat

Hustings for the Labour leadership should be held in marginal constituencies and televised, the party's acting leader has said.

Harriet Harman said the party's previous leadership contest was too much "within Labour's comfort zone" and it was time to "let the public in".

She also sought to rally her party by saying "great victory can follow shocking defeat".

Labour was left with 232 seats, prompting leader Ed Miliband to quit.

As well as Labour Party members and affiliated supporters like union members, people who pay £3 to become a "registered supporter" can also vote in the contest to replace Mr Miliband.

'Brutally honest'

In a speech at the party's headquarters in London, Ms Harman encouraged non Labour members to attend hustings and said she was in discussions about televising them.

"Last time our hustings were in front of Labour members and were in cities where Labour won," she will say.

"We must have those hustings now in towns and suburbs where Labour lost.

"We have to go back and ask local people from those areas to be brutally honest about what they think of us and what they want from us."

She said this time the candidates must be "stress tested" by the public.

Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh and Andy Burnham are so far in the race to be named Ed Miliband's successor, with the result announced on 12 September.

'Dark days'

Since Labour's election defeat, the party leadership contenders, MPs and union leaders have been trying to work out where the party went wrong.

Jon Cruddas - who oversaw the writing of Labour's election manifesto and is now leading a review into the defeat - said the party was facing arguably the greatest crisis in its history.

Ms Harman recalled Tony Blair's landslide election victory for Labour in 1997.

"We have shown that we can come back and that we can win," she said, calling for a wider debate than that which followed the resignations of Gordon Brown and Mr Miliband.

"We must get the right leader but we must also take stock of much more than the captain on the bridge," she added.

"These are dark days for the Labour Party, we are still bruised," she said.

"But we will come back."

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