The Labour Leadership


A few weeks ago I wrote a piece about the Labour leadership election and about the future direction of our Party. It set out the reasons why I believe the qualities that Yvette Cooper would have brought to the position of Leader made her the candidate for me to support. The scale of Jeremy Corbyn’s victory was, however, overwhelming and it must be respected. I don’t say that grudgingly. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed up to Labour and there has been an energy around his campaign which has touched people who have been turned off from involvement in conventional parties in recent years. As I also said in the piece I wrote in August, that presents a real opportunity for Labour.

Seizing that opportunity presents two big challenges for Labour. First, to face up to the kind of charges in policy and political direction that can apply our principles to world that we face over the next twenty years, not those of either the last twenty years or the twenty before that. Second, it is to change the style and character of our politics so it can reach out in ways that which both Jeremy’s campaign and a range of movements beyond conventional parties have given us a glimpse.

A word too about my friend and West Midlands colleague, Tom Watson. His victory in the Deputy Leadership contest was also overwhelming. He is a tireless campaigner who has shown he is up to facing the challenges above. Tom has made clear he will be a loyal Deputy in an inclusive and forward-looking Party. Both Jeremy and Tom have my support in that.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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