On Sunday 9 February 2020, South Thanet Labour Party will nominate MPs to be Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Read the candidates’ personal statements below, or download them as a PDF here.
At the same meeting, we will be nominating three representatives to the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee (including one BAME representative). Download NEC candidates’ statements here.
Members of the Labour Party who joined before 20 January will also have a chance to record their individual vote for candidates of their choice.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles
“Like all Labour members, I am devastated we lost the election. After a decade of Conservative government we face entrenched inequality, 4 million children growing up in poverty, a climate emergency and an emboldened far right.
We had a chance to help turn back the tide, but we failed. The starting point in the leadership election is to be honest and self-critical about why and then look forward and forge our path to power.
We lost trust with voters – over Brexit, over antisemitism, over a lack of unity in our party and because we failed to set out a convincing narrative for what we would do in government.
We have to learn the lessons of this but we can’t despair. We have another round of elections in May and the escalating crises we face mean that building a winning vision of a socialist future has never been so urgent.
My vision is one of a democratic, aspirational and decarbonised society that hands wealth and power back to ordinary people. I believe we can build a green, democratic future that bridges the deep divides in our electoral coalition.
But we must democratise our party and we must embrace radical democratic reform in the country, taking power out of Westminster. In the words of the great Nye Bevan: “the purpose of getting power is to be able to give it away.”
This is my ambition – an aspirational, socialist, democratic future that can unite the country and build our path back to power.”
Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan
“It has been a shattering election defeat. For us to rebuild trust with communities in every corner of the country, it will take a different kind of leadership and a different kind of leader.
It will take bravery to choose a leader that doesn’t look or sound like the leaders we’ve had before.
But now is not the time to steady the ship or play it safe. Our greatest strength has always been our movement and our deep and broad roots in very different parts of the country. That is why we must end the infighting, and empower our activists and councillors to make lasting change.
Together, we can rebuild that ‘red bridge’ that unites both sides of the electoral coalition and has propelled us into government just three times in a century. We must take power from Westminster and Whitehall and restore it to those places that feel they no longer have a stake in our national story.
From working with child refugees and rough sleepers, to a decade in Parliament opposing free schools and tackling climate change as the Shadow Secretary of State – I know that Labour is at our best when we are bold, and have the courage of our convictions. I have never shied away from difficult battles and I never will.
I am standing to be leader of the Labour Party to lead us back into power. The road will be steep but it doesn’t have to be long. We win together.”
Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras
“I’ve spent my life fighting for justice, standing up for the powerless and against the powerful.
I’m now standing to be leader of the Labour Party because I believe I can help unite our movement, take on the Tories and build a better future.
When Labour is united, we can achieve anything.
The NHS, the minimum wage, the Equal Pay Act, peace in Northern Ireland: impossible dreams made possible by Labour governments.
We now need to provide an effective opposition to Boris Johnson.
We need to start winning elections again – starting with the local elections in May, building to 2024.
We won’t do that by abandoning our values or the radicalism we have rediscovered.
We are an anti-austerity party. We believe in common ownership. We want to build a more peaceful world through a human-rights based foreign policy. We must hardwire the Green New Deal into every part of our politics.
Those are the pillars on which we can build a radical agenda for the future.
Inequalities of every type – power, education, health and wealth – are now so ingrained that only a fundamental shift can address them.
Our task is to make that agenda relevant to the 2020s and 2030s: to deliver economic justice, social justice and climate justice.
That is a huge task.
This leadership contest can only be one part of it.
With your help and with all parts of the labour and trade union movement coming together, I believe we can win again. Another future is possible.”
Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury
I believe I have the strength, experience and passion to take the fight back to the Tories now, and lead us on the long hard road to victory in five years.
When I was seven, my dad walked out, leaving us penniless. A Labour councillor came to our rescue and found us a council house. I joined the party as a teenager, canvassing and collecting subs on my own in Hammersmith.
Ever since, I’ve been on the front-line of the great battles we’ve fought together, from fighting the NF and representing striking miners, print-workers and sea-farers, to marching against Section 28, the Poll Tax and Iraq.
Since coming to Parliament in 2005, I’ve fought against 90 days detention, Climate Change and Universal Credit, and campaigned for human rights, social care and peace.
I’ve led the charge as Shadow Foreign Secretary against Trump and the war in Yemen and, for two years, shadowing Boris Johnson, I got the better of him every time.
Our greatest strength lies not just in our party’s history, values, or achievements in government, but from the army of union members, CLPs and student activists who’ve inspired all of that, and continue inspiring it today.
Our party is at its best when we’re listening to our members and answerable to them, and our best policies are driven by the experience of our members.
That’s the way I’d lead our party, lead the fight against Johnson, and lead us into power. By standing up and fighting back together.
DEPUTY LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, MP for Tooting
“Growing up on the breadline, as a mixed race child, with a single mum, under Margaret Thatcher’s Government of the 80s, meant that the odds were stacked against my brother and I.
Constantly told that there was a ceiling on what I could achieve, when I failed my exams, my dreams of serving my community looked to be over.
A Labour Government transformed my life and enabled me to go to medical school and become an A&E doctor, where I still do frontline shifts. I am determined that no person should have a limit placed on them by this Conservative Government. As an MP, I’ve taken my passion for labour values across the world in humanitarian crises, working with the most vulnerable. Only when we give a voice to the voiceless, can we create a more equal society.
We face a huge challenge ahead and we need to prove to the country that we can deliver on our promises.
As Deputy, I will lead from the grassroots, working hard across the UK. I will listen to members and together evaluate why we lost the last four general elections, then move forwards, starting by winning the elections in May.
I would give our emergency service workers a voice on shaping their future by offering them a reduced rate to join our party- we will fight to save our NHS from the Tory sell-off.
My aim is clear: to take Labour forward together and win the next General Election – join me.”
Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East
“I’ll be a campaigning Deputy Leader.
Winning the next general election means regaining the trust of the voters we’ve lost. My focus will be building a Party rooted in every community with powerful local campaigns that show whose side we’re on.
I fully back our previous two manifestos. These offer real solutions to the problems our communities face.
Great policies, however, aren’t enough. I’ll overhaul our campaigning and messaging to focus on 10 key policies that are easily explainable on the doorstep.
Any path to power requires us winning back the 50+ Leave-supporting seats we lost. As Deputy Leader, I’ll chair a Special Commission on rebuilding that support.
Our members and trade union affiliates ensure we’re rooted in the realities of our communities. I back a fully democratic system for members to choose Labour candidates.
I’ve always stood up to the establishment and for the oppressed. Before being an MP, I was a trade union lawyer for a decade. As an MP, I voted against the 2015 Tory Welfare Bill and nominated and backed Jeremy in both leadership elections. When I successfully sued The Sun, I used the £30,000 compensation to fund a local internship.
As Secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, founded by Tony Benn, I believe the values of peace, equality and socialism are more necessary than ever.
Working class communities in all their diversity need a Labour government. Whoever is Leader, I’ll be a team player focussed on our main task: winning back power.”
Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central
“It’s time for Labour to unite and focus on the only thing that matters – returning to power so we can deliver for working people across our nations and regions.
That’s what I have fought for as a trade union activist and an MP. I’ve served under two Labour Prime Ministers and on Jeremy Corbyn’s frontbench. I am a proven team player who puts the collective interests of the party above factional point-scoring.
And I can and have delivered.
I’m the only candidate with experience and a track record in a Labour government. In 2009 I made history as the first elected black woman to become a government minister. I have mastered ministerial briefs in government. I’ve forced Conservatives U-turns in opposition, and I’ll fight the Tories from day one.
I have fiercely defended my principles. I was one of the few MPs to vote against the Welfare Reform Bill. I’ve been the Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, opposing inequality and pushing for social change across our country.
People need Labour to win. I can win. In 2015 I won back a seat with a 28.4% swing – the biggest in the country. We can do this!
As a working-class socialist with a history of fighting, delivering and winning, I will be relentless in building an inclusive base.
Let’s prepare for power win back the North, Scotland and the rest of the country to create a society that works for everyone. ”
Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South
“I’m standing to be Deputy Leader because I want our party to win again.
Successive election defeats feel terrible. But they feel worse for every person and family who needs a Labour Government.
We let them and the country down.
My whole life I’ve fought and won against the odds.
I’m the son of a single parent after my dad died suddenly, brought up on a council estate and went to university at 16; a former kitchen porter who ended up running my own pubs; and a football fan who led the fight to save my beloved local team.
I’m the marginal seat MP who has survived a nationalist wave in Scotland – twice.
We can beat the Tories if we stop dwelling on the past and look to the future – for our party and our country.
Here’s my plan:
• We must be honest and listen to voters and members, so that we understand what we got wrong.
• We must stand up for every part of our UK, building on our values of internationalism and solidarity as a pro-UK and pro-European party.
• We must change the way our party works so that we transform its culture and tackle the scourge of antisemitism.
• We must organise effectively to ensure we target resources where needed.
• We must never stray from our Labour values while building a broad coalition of support as I have always done.
As a fighter, I know what it takes to win. But we must change to win.”
Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne
“I’m standing because I want to offer socialism that’s rooted in real people’s lives. By uniting, we can hold the Tories to account and challenge their cuts, privatisation, and environmental failure. But we can go further – using our collective strength to support communities under attack, and rebuild trust in our Party.
From the day I joined a trade union as a care worker and teenage mum, I’ve understood the power of politics to change lives. As a union rep, then MP and Shadow Education Secretary, I’ve devoted my life to our movement. I have learned to fight – and win. I know a Labour government can be won by positive, member-led movements, delivered in a way that people understand and trust.
That means learning the lessons of those defeats, listening to our members and supporters, and working together to win back power. To me, that’s what collective leadership is about. If we don’t reverse the long-term trends that led to four successive election losses, and convince people to join us on that journey, we face irrelevance.
Having never finished school myself, I was humbled to develop Labour’s National Education Service and proud to fight for free education, from cradle-to-grave.
As we begin the long fight back, I’ll be campaigning alongside you every step of the way. Our membership and leadership, united in positive co-operation and action, can and must forge a path back to power.
That’s my pitch to you: common sense socialism, community campaigning, and fighting to win.”