Labour deputy leadership hopeful Richard Burgon – whose entry into the contest has created a buzz among the party’s left – has made a strong start to his campaign with a statement of intent that will strike several chords with Labour’s grassroots.
Burgon has committed himself to full democracy for members to select their candidates instead of the current frustrating processes that have proven to be stacked in favour of right-wing incumbents.
But he goes further, being the only one of the candidates in either contest to frankly identify the role of Labour’s move from its Brexit commitment in Labour’s general election losses – and winning back leave-voting communities as the only route back to power.
Burgon’s statement also recognises also that Labour’s election message needs to be more tightly focused to ensure that voters receive it.
Burgon also underlines his credentials as a left MP – as a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn in both his leadership contests and one of the few in the contests to have voted against the 2015 Tory welfare cuts on which then-acting leader Harriet Harman ordered Labour MPs to abstain. He also reminds members of his victory over the Murdoch S*n and his selfless use of the compensation he won.
Richard Burgon is showing why influential supporters of some of the other deputy leader candidates were eager to keep him out of the contest:
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 focused on our main task: winning back power.
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