Labour candidates who failed to win the election have been left angry after party chiefs e-mailed them six weeks later – advising them to ring Samaritans or 999 if they are in distress.
Defeated candidates first received an e-mail on December 17 saying the party was “working on support for you as you get back to life”.
One candidate told the Mirror many had hoped this might mean financial help. But that candidate then heard nothing from the central party until this week – when they received an “insulting” e-mail demanding their election spending return “as soon as possible”.
The e-mail from Labour’s Election Support Team thanked candidates who were “at the very heart of the campaign”, adding: “The lessons you learned from your campaigns locally will be invaluable to the Party going forward. We will make sure that you are consulted as part of any review that happens when the new leader is in place.”
But it went on to add: “Elections are stressful and being a candidate in a general election can bring even greater pressure on you and your family.
“There are a number of services available free of charge than can help if you are still experiencing any symptoms of stress. The safeguarding team have provided some advice below this email.”
A note at the bottom adds: “Samaritans – Offer a safe place for anyone to talk any time they like, in their own way – about whatever’s getting to them. Telephone 116 123… If you feel you are at risk of immediate harm please contact 999 in the first instance.”
The e-mail offered candidates a reference if they were looking for work, but does not mention any kind of compensation.
A candidate said some had received handwritten notes from Jeremy Corbyn, and regional organisers had been helpful – but from the national party there had been “silence” since December 17.
Another candidate told the Guardian: “Whether you invested emotional energy, time, resources, whatever – we all gave so much, as did those around us. An, ‘Oh, by the way, we’ve just remembered to check in with you losers’ email is insulting, so late in the day.”
It’s thought the e-mail only went to new candidates who were defeated, not former MPs who lost their seats. One ex-MP snapped: “Obviously they’re not so bothered about our mental health.”
It comes as a row rages over an election inquest presented to Labour’s ruling NEC yesterday.
The report overseen by Jeremy Corbyn ally Karie Murphy is said to have exonerated him from personal blame, and praised a controversial system of community organisers for upping engagement.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the report said the organisers “held the line against even further destruction of our support base”.
But a defeated candidate said community organisers “damaged” their campaign adding: “I had to ask that my community organiser was kept away. They said their job wasn’t to get me elected. They had their own agenda.
“A lot of the time we had no idea what the community organisers were doing in our patches. They didn’t match up with the general election campaign coordination.”
The candidate added community organisers’ wages would “definitely” have to be declared on local returns for the places they worked.
A separate election inquest is being compiled by the cross-factional Labour Together group – which has heard from more than 8,000 members so far.
It has also held focus groups with ex-Labour voters who switched to the Tories.
A source said at one focus group, the only election message most participants had remembered properly was “Get Brexit Done”.
The source added: “There was a genuine sense of relief that we didn’t win”.
The report is expected to be presented before the contest ends on April 4.
Meanwhile yesterday’s NEC away day was told Labour now has more than 580,000 members – tipping over its previous peak under Jeremy Corbyn. Just over 100,000 new members joined since the election amid speculation many may back rivals of left-winger Rebecca Long-Bailey.