Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

Changing the party to change the result in 5 years’ time

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.’

The Progress strategy board is made up of the Progress officers and elected representatives.

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is a movement of centre-left Labour members.


  • Great decision. I have met all 4 candidates and Liz stands out for ideas, passion and commitment. Jeremy is very charming, like Michael Foot, and would be just as disastrous as leader. Andy is like Neil Kinnock; he would unite the Party well, and lead it to defeat. Yvette is highly intelligent, but hasn’t shown the strong vision needed to lead and sell the Party to the public. And Tessa is the best of the Mayoral candidates.

  • what care home for confused adults do you live in? trust kendall no thanks.honing her dagger when Mr Milibands body was still warm.

  • I disagree with your decision but let me ask you if you submitted Liz to the David Davies test. You will remember how this person, the favourite to win the Tory leadership in 2005, demolished many of the leading women on the Labour front bench. Women who had much more experience than Liz and yet failed to survive the misogyny that Davies poured on them. You have many politicians who could act Davies part. Let us know the result, because unless she can do this she will not survive until 2020. I have seen Shirley Williams subjected to this level of invective and it is not a pretty sight.

  • Strangely, the fact that Liz is opposed by anonymous internet trolls like Nana strengthens my support for her.

  • Beat them, don’t join them. Liz will stand up to that sort of crap.
    The danger with Cooper, as with Balls, is that she will try to fight fire with fire and end up getting burned.
    Kendall is too canny to fall into that trap.

  • There is an ethical dimension to this contest, make no mistake. Yvette Cooper is saying that in order to beat Cameron across the dispatch boxes we will have to join him and the ugly noise makers at his shoulder. This would demean politics and the Labour Party.

  • Don’t call me a troll.Richard Arthur Head.
    Dick Head your nick name is it?Suits you sir.get back in your box.get back to your village it appears to be missing you.she would demand loyalty of her shadow cabinet,and the back bench MP’s.she did’nt give it to Mr Miliband did she? And i am not the only one who thinks that in The Labour Party.not just the rank and file either.

  • If she becomes Labour leader, I say, perish the thought, she will represent the Labour Party on the front bench. How can she avoid that trap. Miliband could not, and never got ahead in leadership polls.

  • Milliband fell into that trap because he was committed to a Brownite communications strategy. He made clunking policy pronouncements without articulating a coherent policy agenda and an underpinning set of values. This allowed the Tories to simply fill in the gaps to Labour’s detriment. He therefore had no prepared defense against attacks which were not policy-focused.
    Kendall, alone among the leadership candidates, with the exception of token left candidate Corbyn, has never bought into this approach and fully recognises its deficiencies and limitations.

  • For all the cleverness shown by Miliband, and the expensive advisors from the U.S., George Osborne showed what real political cunning is about. Who can answer the question as to the effect the SNP would have on a minority Labour administration? No one could answer that question and the election was decided on that question.

  • Yes indeed, Milliband reminded me of Baldrick’s “I have a cunning plan” catchphrase in ‘Blackadder’. The plan, of course, never worked.

    I also agree that the SNP question exposed Milliband’s lack of trust –of the SNP, of Scottish voters and of English voters. It was a moment which tested his leadership and he failed the test.

    If Labour is about anything it should be placing trust in people, as Kendall has repeatedly emphasised. To reiterate: Brown’s leadership was a thoroughgoing disaster for the party and his successors have begotten failure in still greater measure. Let them have their ‘third term’ (in opposition) if you must, but spare us the folly of standing on policies such as renationalisations, which were last enacted in the early 1950s and which now would do nothing for anyone.

  • I think more of the six million on Minimum Wage, using Food Banks and on zero hour contracts, rather than the difficulties of Labour and its attempts to reposition itself.

  • 1. I don’t believe you care as much as you suggest. If you did you would care more about how the British Labour Party positions itself.
    2. Everyone in the Labour Party cares about those things. That is why we are in the Labour Party. Such concerns are not the exclusive property of those who refuse to be pragmatic and vaguely hark back to an authorities which are no longer credible.

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