The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

Has 24 weeks got anything to do with the collapse of the Labour vote in Crewe?

It is now clear that the Labour vote has collapsed in Crewe, and a large section of it switched to the Conservatives, in a massive 17.6% swing.

A lot has been said about Northern Wreck, the 10p tax rate, and other Labour mistakes.

But a few evenings ago almost the entire parliamentary Labour Party (apart from a few decent Labour MPs, such as Ruth Kelly, MP for another North West constituency, Bolton West, with about a 2,000 majority) voted to maintain the current 24 week limit of abortion.  The timing was ludicrous.

Crewe has a long history of immigration from Irish people to work in the railways, and thus a large Catholic population.  (The most recent Catholic immigrant group, the Poles, were disenfranchised from voting in Crewe, although they can vote in local and European elections.) 

I spoke to a few Catholics in Crewe who were appalled by the abortion vote and were switching from Labour, for the first time, to the Conservatives.   There were no doubt many others, as well as some who did not turn out to vote, for various reasons – but the last straw was the abortion vote.  Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has bravely said that Labour must not take the Catholic vote for granted.  Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is a man that I (yes, I, an Ulster Protestant) admire for his bravery on the abortion issue.

Let’s hope that Labour has lost the Catholic vote for good.  Part of the huge swing from Lab to Con in Crewe is evidence of that.

Tue 27/5/8, 14.43 Update: On her blog, the brave campaigner Nadine Dorries MP – who made a powerful and frank speech about the reality behind abortion – has confirmed that many other people had 24 weeks raised as an issue on the doorstep.  She points out that seats such as Bedford (whose MP Patrick Hall – notional 2005 majority 3,494 – voted to maintain 24 weeks) have large Catholic and Muslim communities. Lesson to Labour MPs: don’t upset what is supposed to be your core vote.

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23 May, 2008 Posted by | abortion, Gordon Brown, Labour Party, politics | | 11 Comments