Yesterday, gathered in the Atlee Suite in Parliament, with standing room only, all Labour MPs heard each of the Labour leadership candidates set out their stall. It’s not a position we expected to be in. We hoped Ed Miliband would be Prime Minister. But we accept that we lost, and we lost badly and so we move on.
Nominations from MPs are now open and the process gives Labour the chance to examine what went wrong in the election, regroup, listen to voters and then come out fighting for the future and hold this Tory government to account.
The debate yesterday understandably focused on some of the key reasons why we lost. It is clear that we are still not trusted on the economy.
Frankly we didn’t do enough earlier to counter the Tory narrative that it was Labour spending and not the banks that caused the recession. Nor did we do enough to show that we were determined to balance the books. Despite focusing on the economy at key moments during the campaign it wasn’t sufficient.
We had some good policies such as on childcare, on primary school places or on giving a stamp duty holiday to first time byers but people didn’t believe we could pay for them.
Labour faces a mountain to climb to regain the trust of the public and to win in 2020.
We shouldn’t ditch Labour values, we need to show that we’ve got the vision, strength and the competence to put those values into practice. I’ve seen up close having worked with Ed Miliband what an incredibly tough job being leader of the Labour Party is.
At today’s hustings I saw the vision, the values, the leadership and the toughness from Andy Burnham and that’s why I’ll be nominating him.
Andy is a comprehensive-school lad from Liverpool who made it into the cabinet. He can take the tough decisions we need to rebuild trust on issues like the economy and immigration. Andy tells a strong story about the kind of country he wants to build; one that gives hope to people; that shows they’ll be rewarded for getting on; that supports them to own their own home and get on wherever they are and wherever they live.
I want people to emotionally connect with the Labour Party and show that we get them and get their lives. With Andy I believe we can do that.
This article was first posted in the Manchester Evening News on 09.06.2015