The UK will be changed forever by the coronavirus pandemic, a leading Labour politician has told the BBC.
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking it was “inconceivable” the UK would return to the pre-virus status quo given the “sacrifices” people made.
He also said Labour needed a different message if it was to have any hope of winning power at the next election.
The party had “not connected” with enough people for a decade, he said.
In an interview with the BBC’s Nick Robinson, on his podcast, Mr Thomas-Symonds said the political and economic implications of the pandemic would be profound and his party would have to change to meet them.
“I can think of no comparative period in the post-war era that is anything like this one,” the Torfaen MP, who is one of leader Sir Keir Starmer’s key allies, said.
“You think, for example, of the Coronavirus Act, which I was part of putting on the statute book back in March, and I never thought an act like that would ever go onto the statute book in my time in Parliament, but it did.
“The public responded, made the sacrifices that were required to help themselves and other people. It’s inconceivable to me the country and indeed the wider world will go back to the status quo as it was before this crisis.”
On Labour’s challenge to make itself electable again, Mr Thomas-Symonds said the party clearly had to change course if was to win the next election, due to be held in 2024.
“My strong message going into the next general election will be that Labour will keep you, your family and your community safe.
“I’m afraid having lost four general elections and been rejected comprehensively by the electorate that seems to me a vital message going forward. ‘
He added: “The problem is pretty clear – the policy, the signals, however you wish to characterise it, that we’ve put forward in the general elections of 2010, 2015, 2017 and 2019 clearly have not persuaded sufficient numbers of people to give us a majority in Parliament.
“That’s just unarguable that that has happened. So we haven’t connected with sufficient numbers of people in the way we should have done.”
Political Thinking will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturday at 17.30 BST.