After a great deal of thought, consulting Labour members and others, I’ve decided to nominate Mary Creagh for leadership.
Under the new system, all members have equal vote, after MPs nominate the candidates. Each needs 35 MP nominations.
Whoever leads our party now will need to help us to reflect constructively on the recent election and move on to build on the support we have and communicate effectively beyond that, to show people what we offer and to inspire us and the country that there is a fairer way of doing things.
As I said many times during the election campaign, the party or individual with whom you agree about absolutely everything is the party of one. I prefer to be in a movement, where we agree on our values, we may sometimes disagree on specifics but we debate, we discuss, we challenge and we compromise and then act as together. We are always stronger together. The party which brings together desire for social justice, to tackle climate change with urgency and to bring about an end to poverty is the Labour Party. The leader of our party needs to be able to articulate these values brilliantly. They need to inspire us to work collectively with each other and with millions of others.
All five candidates – Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, Liz Kendal, Jeremy Corbyn and Mary Creagh have qualities and skills to contribute. I know all five will continue to do so for the sake of our country and everyone who makes their home here. I have long admired the work Yvette Cooper has done, particularly for her outstanding leadership in tackling violence against women and girls. Andy Burnham has shown enormous passion and ability for leading our health team. I don’t know Liz Kendal but I am looking forward to getting to know and work with her and all the front bench as well as my backbench colleagues as we challenge the government and present an alternative based on hope and fairness. Jeremy Corbyn’s dedication to global justice has always impressed me. I want the members and supporters to be offered as wide a choice as possible and that means candidates need 35 MPs each on nomination papers to be on the ballot.
I’m nominating Mary Creagh. She has warmth, charisma, policy and life experience and depth. I am glad to have the opportunity to support someone with an internationalist approach and great knowledge of the European Union – invaluable as we approach the referendum on EU membership. She has set up a branch of a trade union from scratch and volunteered at every level of the Labour movement. She has held transport and other infrastructure briefs, worked in local government as well as Europe, has huge life experience and is an outstanding communicator. She demonstrated this brilliantly she visited us in Bristol West during the general election, chatting to people in Lawrence Hill and Easton, playing pool with aplomb in a cafe on the Stapleton Road and discussing environmental policy knowledgeably on the doorstep.
Whoever wins the Labour leadership contest I will be supporting them and working hard with and for them. Look out for hustings, media appearances and blogs over the next few weeks. Remember it matters that our leader is someone that the people of this country feels understands them and whom they can trust. Mary knows that a Labour government building schools and investing in the NHS is not what caused the global financial crisis and says so. She also understands that we need to be economically credible, and that businesses of all size are where good jobs come from, and that we need to work with business in constructive ways which help to build sustainable economic growth, develop skills and treat workers properly. Like me, she started cycling to get around because it is affordable transport. Like me, she wants a public transport system which works for all of us, is affordable and doesn’t pollute our streets. She’s got the experience and skills to help get us there.
I’m nominating Mary Creagh for Labour leader.