I am supporting Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh and Shadow Health Secretary, in Labour’s leadership election.
We’re lucky to have a very talented group of candidates to choose from for our next leader so I wanted to consider the full line-up before making my decision.
From the start I said I was looking for a candidate who had the right values and vision to set the tone for the kind of country we want to live in. A leader who will address the inequalities that persist across the UK, which damage society and stifle growth, and enable everyone to reach their potential.
They must have integrity and an appeal that resonates across the UK geographically and across the socio-economic spectrum.
On top of that the new leader needs the ability to relate to people one-to-one, in large groups and across the airwaves. They will need sound judgement and the resilience to handle the scrutiny political leaders get, especially in the media. And a good helping of political nous is essential too!
I’ve worked closely with Andy for over three years in the shadow health team as his parliamentary private secretary, so I know he has all these attributes in spades.
But I also knew Andy before I became an MP, when I was the chair of an NHS Trust. Back then I realised that Andy is a politician who is approachable and one who listens. And that’s what we need now; a leader who will help the party listen, understand, and act.
Andy is the right person to take us forward and build on the five million conversations we had with the public in the build up to the election and now we should be working to make that fifty million conversations!
We need a leader who is going to help us engage and empower our communities.
I believe the approach Ed started was the right one. His mission to develop a fairer, more equal and inclusive society was right. We need to strengthen this approach not weaken it.
We must continue to be the party of the many, not just a privileged few, and I know that Andy Burnham is the right person to help us develop the beating heart of Labour.