This week the Progress strategy board has endorsed an all-women team to meet Labour’s electoral challenges to come. Elected by the membership of Progress – Labour’s new mainstream, the board members decided to support Liz Kendall for Labour leader and Tessa Jowell for mayor of London.
With former Progress vice-chair Andy Burnham, former patron Yvette Cooper and current vice-chair Liz Kendall on the ballot, the board was spoilt for choice. Progress members told their representatives on the board that support among the membership extends to all four candidates – including Jeremy Corbyn. But the overwhelming choice – of the board and membership at large – to lead Labour through the next chapter in its history was the member of parliament for Leicester West.
Director of Progress, Richard Angell said:
‘Labour should never forget its winning ways and that when it gains power it can change the country, the lives of the poorest and those we came into the party to help.
‘Progress members around the country busted a gut on the doorstep to try and win for the Labour party we love, as they had done five years before. At 10.01pm on polling day they, like all Labour supporters, were winded as the exit poll predicted that the Tories would be the biggest party. Hours later the Nuneaton result confirmed our worst fears and that Labour was going backwards. We cannot risk this again.
‘To win again Labour must end the false divide between being pro-worker and pro-business. It can do both. Hand-in-hand, employees and employers can get the growth our economy needs and new jobs and good wages people deserve. This is the start of any conversation about economic credibility.
‘To win Labour must devolve power to local government and communities. It is the right thing to do because it delivers social justice – both for those in receipt of public services but also for the morale, productivity and effectiveness of public sector workers having to deliver services in a fiscally cold climate.
‘To win, Labour must meet the aspirations of the many and connect with the cultural identity of those left behind by globalisation, those feeling a threat of change, and a sense that Labour stands for the “other”. Marrying aspiration and security is the challenge to come.
‘This environment, along with many other areas, requires the kind of leadership Liz Kendall is showing: changing the party so we change the result in five years’ time.
‘There is no shortcut to winning than going through the 11.3 million voters who picked the Conservatives earlier this year. Liz Kendall’s focus on the hard task of returning Labour to government earns her the endorsement.’
The board also highlighted the excellent work Tessa Jowell has done to establish Sure Start, bring the Olympics to London, and champion an end to inequality in the nation’s capital.
Richard Angell continued:
‘Tessa Jowell is a first-rate campaigner and will hit the ground running in city hall. She will tackle the growing inequality in our nation’s capital, focus on the first 1,000 days of a child’s life to prevent social injustice setting in early and provide Londoners with the affordable transport, new homes and focus on crime that it deserves.’
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