Labour sitting on ‘whitewash’ review

Labour TDs fear a “whitewash” review of the party’s patchy general election performance is being “sat on” by the leadership.

Despite the campaign being a year ago, the review was not presented to the party’s 12-person executive board until November — and the leadership is refusing to distribute it further.

“How long does it take to write the sentence: ‘We fucked up?’” one Labour TD asked.

Another revealed: “I understand the first draft was so explosive it had to be rewritten several times.” Another said: “I’m concerned about a whitewash. It would not be in the leadership’s interest to be honest about what happened.”

A fourth Labour TD said: “The campaign was a mess — the ‘Gilmore for Taoiseach’ line imploded — so we were on the back foot the whole way, we made all those promises in the last 10 days to try and stop Fine Gael and they have come back to haunt us now.”

Despite constituency parties complaining that Labour had no clear tax policy until the third week of the campaign and no “doorstep line” to give to voters on its abortion stance or trade union links, those issues were not specifically addressed in the final draft of the review, the Irish Examiner understands.

With backbench discontent growing over perceived high-handed leadership and a failure to project a distinctive Labour narrative onto a Fine Gael-dominated administration, some TDs believe Joan Burton may be positioning herself for a leadership challenge.

“It would just take eight or nine of us to stand up at the PLP [the weekly parliamentary Labour Party meeting] and tell Gilmore our confidence has run out, for him to be gone — he couldn’t survive a quarter of the party saying that,” one TD said.

Discontent is rising. TDs complain the leadership has given up pushing the party’s economic objections and is instead planning to focus on a “liberal agenda” including closing the Vatican embassy and legislating on the X case — but not on radical manifesto pledges such as gay marriage equality.

A spokesman was unable to say how many drafts the review went through, adding it was compiled for the executive board: “There are no plans to distribute copies of the report.”

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