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Former Waveney MP Bob Blizzard pleads with Labour to stick to its values during leadership election

PUBLISHED: 08:21 16 June 2015 | UPDATED: 08:21 16 June 2015

Conservative candidate Peter Aldous is the new MP for Waveney.
Labour candidate Bob Blizzard.

Conservative candidate Peter Aldous is the new MP for Waveney. Labour candidate Bob Blizzard.

"Let's not slag off the policies we were proclaiming a few weeks ago" - that is the plea from a long-serving former Waveney MP to his party as it debates its future following a tough election defeat.

Breaking his silence for the first time since he was defeated at this year’s general election, Bob Blizzard said it would look “really unprincipled” of Labour to junk the policies it put forward in 2015 as it debates in future in the current leadership election.

In an article written for Progress, a political organisation linked to Labour, Mr Blizzard said: “I found virtually nobody who disagreed with the policies we put forward.”

Instead, he said that “one comment that kept recurring” was that: “Painful as it is to say, many voters could not see Ed Miliband as prime minister.

“The brutal truth is that if people do not ‘get’ the messenger, they do not get the message.”

Mr Blizzard, who was Waveney’s MP between 1997 and 2010, gave a short statement after the declaration of the result on May 8 thanking his campaign team and announced his retirement from Parliamentary politics.

In his Progress article he said that he and his team “worked so much harder in 2010”, when he first lost to current Conservative incumbent Peter Aldous.

“I thought this alone would get us over the line to victory,” he said, adding that: “Until that exit poll, I was sure I would overturn the 769 Tory majority.”

But he went onto say: “In a media age, the way voters view the leader is paramount.

“All that doorstep work and community campaigning is undermined without the foundation of a leader who people see as convincing.

“In the end, unsure voters thought that Cameron was better than Miliband, and better the devil you know.”

Read the full story in this Friday’s Journal.

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