Linda Riordan – ‘Why I’m backing Diane’

POSTED IN Backing Diane, Campaign News, Top Stories 23.07.2010

A Labour Party leadership contest is nothing without both wings of the party being represented. It would have been a long summer listening to the two Eds, David and Andy, arguing about who said what during their days round the Cabinet table.

To have the broad strand of Labour opinion represented required a candidate from the left. This is why, as in 2007, I nominated John McDonnell and when he fell short of the numbers, transferred to Diane Abbott. Already, thanks to Diane’s inclusion, issues like Iraq, tuition fees, and ID cards are being debated. 

Former Cabinet Ministers are admitting mistakes were made; candidates from the right are pitching to the left. A broad church needs a broad set of candidates to choose from. I also nominated John, and then Diane, because they are both grassroots politicians who know what Labour voters want. Neither of them spent the last few years solely in the Westminster bubble; they were on the streets, engaging with people and taking the issues that matter to Labour voters from the community into Parliament. It’s no surprise they both had fantastic results.

I know thousands of people in my Halifax constituency need a Labour Government to make a difference to their lives. For that to happen we need to have the right policies and the right leader. For us to ignore what many core Labour voters are saying would be folly. That is why it was so important to have a candidate from the left involved, to enable the debate to happen. 

There is no doubt the other candidates will have to discuss political territory they don’t normally want to occupy. This leadership election can really help the party take off again, uniting the broad strand of Labour and co-operative opinion and refreshing us for the great challenges that lie ahead. Diane’s name on the ballot paper has helped that process and will make the debates that bit more dynamic and inspiring in the coming weeks and months.

 Linda Riordan is the Labour/Co-op MP for Halifax.

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