Ballots are out today for the Labour leadership election. It feels like we’ve been talking about this for weeks, but it’s a hugely important choice so we shouldn’t be rushing it.
Labour needs to reunite. I was pleased to see that all three leadership candidates have promised to serve under either of the others, and that all would be welcome in the Shadow Cabinet. This is good, we need all the talent pulling in the same direction if we ever plan to win again to put our policies into practice.
I’m backing Lisa Nandy for the leadership of the Labour Party. Not because she’s perfect- none of the candidates hold 100% of the same views as me- but because I feel she ‘gets’ what needs to happen to take us forward. Lisa is a leader for the next decade, not the last, or the one before that. By backing Lisa, I am not ‘against’ the other candidates, but I think we can make a really excellent choice by putting our faith in her.
Lisa has listened to the voices that reflect the millions outside of the Labour-held city seats who gave us a huge shock in the 2019 General Election. We need to understand how to better represent working people in the age of Johnson slap-dash leadership when politics seems remote from everyday life. I learned the hard way last year how little faith much of the electorate had in us, including in Swindon, and I’m determined that we turn that around. We need to connect with how everyone across the UK feels about their identity, their communities and how they wish to be governed.
Lisa’s plans to bring local government representation to the fore in the Labour Party is extremely welcome, and essential. She can equally talk about the everyday issues that bother us all, like the reduction of bus services, as much as the big issues like security and how we would respond to the floods currently washing across much of the country.
I think Lisa can hold Johnson to account, and that he will be forced to confront the reality of his empty promises in the face of her opposition and the opposition of a strong Shadow Cabinet. She will simultaneously rebuild our base ahead of 2024, while not letting the Prime Minister off the hook.
I choose Lisa, not because she is a woman, or BAME, or from the north, or from a town (although all may hold some relevance), but because she is the best candidate. I think there always seems to be an excuse not to pick an up and coming younger woman, but this time is the time to do it, and to pick Lisa for Leader.