Last Thursday was Labour’s worst night at the polls since 1935 and while Dan retained his seat despite a strong showing from the Brexit Party in second place, his majority was slashed by almost 12,000 to 3,571 - having been 15,546 at the last election.
He admitted this week that Labour needs to ‘act fast’ and believes Barnsley’s given the party its last chance after fellow Labour MPs Stephanie Peacock and John Healey narrowly held their seats.
Dan said: “We need to act fast before it’s too late - this election represented the last chance Barnsley is willing to give Labour. If we don’t listen and change, the final bricks of what’s left of the ‘red wall’ will be bulldozed away next time. On four occasions, I was confronted by constituents displaying such visceral anger that I was prepared for a physical altercation.
“Local activists were regularly verbally abused for having the temerity to speak with residents about the election or simply deliver campaign literature. I have a duty of care for them and wrestled with whether it was fair to ask them to go out and knock on doors.
“Our activists are knackered and worn down, but it’s imperative that we now rebuild our party, regain trust and ensure it is grounded in communities.”
Barnsley, often referred to as a ‘Labour heartland’, elected its first Conservative MP since 1931 by opting for Miriam Cates in Penistone and Stocksbridge.
“The result was a humbling night for Labour in Barnsley,” he added. “Nearly one in three people - in the town still home to the National Union of Mineworkers - supported a political outfit headed by a man (Nigel Farage) who once said he supported Thatcher’s reforms of the economy.
“Without an honest analysis of what happened and the requisite change, we risk the bond between heartland seats across the Midlands and north of England and Labour being irrevocably broken. Our country has been crying out for a Labour government but we keep giving people reasons not to vote for us. With strong leadership and a credible policy offer that addresses the huge challenges we face, I am certain that we can win them back.”