Last month’s election was disastrous for the Labour Party. Whilst it is a huge honour to have been re-elected to represent Newcastle North, we face another four and a half years of a Conservative Government delivering the hardest of Brexits and Tory policies. We have let so many of our supporters and those that need a Labour Government down.
Despite three years of Tory inflicted Brexit chaos and nine years of punishing austerity – not to mention the devastating impact this has had on our public services and the most vulnerable in our communities – voters still did not feel they could put their faith in the Labour Party.
During the election I spoke with thousands of voters in Newcastle North – and across the North East – and the message from them was clear: they were concerned about the leadership of the Labour Party and were simply unable to trust that we could deliver on our promises. This was combined with real concerns about the culture within the our party, the failures to tackle the scourge of antisemitism and worries about resolving Brexit.
We saw the devastating result, and what this means for our communities. Now we must rebuild.
We desperately need a credible Labour Party to provide a powerful opposition to this Tory Government, and to be the next Government in waiting. We cannot shy away from the fact that in 120 years Labour have only won 8 elections. The odds are stacked against us. That is why we need a strong and bold leader who can not only reconnect the Labour Party with our traditional voters that we have lost, but one that can also reach out and broaden our appeal, to secure the wider electoral base that will lead us into Government.
Whilst we have many great colleagues who have stepped up to the plate, I am proud to have nominated Jess Phillips to be not just the next Leader of the Labour Party but also our next Labour Prime Minister.
I firmly believe that we need to radically change to return to Government. More of the same or similar is simply not the answer. Jess is Labour to her core, with the values and charisma that can attract support from people who currently vote Labour, those who have voted Labour in the past and those we need to win over. If we are serious about winning power for the people we were founded to represent, we are going to have to move out of our comfort zone, and really challenge ourselves to be reflective of the wider public at large, whilst also staying true to our mission as a party.
Jess has shown that she is willing to speak truth to power and I have no doubt that she has the courage to truly hold Boris Johnson to account. She is a brilliant campaigner and has the ability to connect with people up and down the country. We need a clean break from the last few years and a fresh start, so that we can deliver a Labour victory, and that is what Jess offers.
If Labour are to get into Government we at the very least need to win in places where we have lost support. This is nowhere more apparent than in Scotland that returned only one Labour MP at the election in December.
That’s why I have also nominated Ian Murray to become the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Between 2015 and 2017, Ian was the only Labour MP elected in Scotland, and following the last election, sadly, he is again the only Labour MP to retain his seat.
Ian’s record shows what a tireless organiser and winning campaigner he is. He has the knowledge, ability and commitment to ensure that we can win the seats we need to deliver a Labour Government, and his record shows that he can deliver.
If you want to find out more about Jess and Ian and how you can get involved in their campaigns, please click on the links below.