As a Labour councillor in Conservative-run Bexley, I know the damage the lack of real leadership is doing to our reputation and electability in the areas we seek to represent. Areas desperately need a Labour council, a Labour government, areas that have voted for Labour in the past and with the right plan, will vote Labour again. To do this, I believe we need a new leader of the Labour party.
This week we saw the GMB officially endorse Owen Smith to be the next leader of the Labour party and the next Labour prime minister. I am extremely proud that my trade union put our values into action and balloted all members to ensure the endorsement that was announced on Wednesday, was reflective of those who decided to take part in the vote. GMB members voted 60/40 to endorse Owen Smith, a considerable and legitimate mandate that was brought around by ordinary, hardworking trade union members. Of course, those in and around Momentum will reject this nomination as ‘Blairite’, ‘rightwing’ and a ‘non-result’, but what is the difference between the process the GMB took and the process that CLPs are currently engaged in up and down the country? CLPs are making nominations based on the turnout at their nomination meetings. How would any of us feel if our CLP nomination was made by the executive committee like has been done at Unite? It is a great shame that other unions, such as Unite, who claim to represent working people, could not trust their membership with a vote as important as this.
The GMB’s modern and progressive approach to this leadership election has come as no surprise; the GMB has long stood with sensible progressives. Whether that be on a third runway at Heathrow Airport or the renewal of Trident, the GMB has continually put its membership and ultimately the country first. What unites Progress and GMB is the desire to see a Labour government led by a Labour prime minister who will change this country for the better and put our values into action.
The GMB has proven itself to be a modern, democratic, 21st-century trade union. I am proud to be a member.
Danny Hackett is a Labour councillor on Bexley council. He tweets at @DannyHackett
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