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Unparalleled Ambition for Britain - Why I'm Backing Yvette for Labour Leader

10/07/2015 10:18 BST | Updated 09/07/2016 10:59 BST

Losing an election hurts. For the millions of people who voted for us, who fear five more years of Tory rule, The Labour Party cannot afford to turn inwards now. We need to dust ourselves down and get on with the business of opposition, quickly. As such, it is imperative that the Party gets its choice of leader right.

Of course we have to reflect on the mistakes of the last campaign, to help us better understand the reasons for that significant defeat but already one thing is clear.

If the Labour Party is to win again, we must reach beyond our traditional base. We need at our core a desire to represent the south as much as the north and we must understand as clearly the needs and desires of people in Cornwall as those in Cumbria.

It means we need a leader with the broadest possible appeal, able to unite all sections of our party and our country, ready and willing to tackle David Cameron head-on and who has a clear and ambitious vision for the future of Britain.

The Labour Party needs a Prime Minister in waiting, and that is why I am backing Yvette Cooper to be my party's next leader.

She has the experience. Yvette led a £100bn government department as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and as a minister, she oversaw the nationwide rollout of SureStart centres, which have since transformed the lives of families across the country. Too many are now under threat because we lost the election.

But it is Yvette's ambition for Britain that excites me about her leadership. In every announcement I have seen her make, at every hustings performance, Yvette shows an unparalleled vision for Britain's future, its economy and its people.

I share her obvious pride in our values and traditions but I welcome her willingness to challenge old orthodoxies. As The Labour Party's first elected woman leader, she will live those values and she will honour our history. I believe she will prove an unashamed champion of our successes, with the courage and humility to learn from our defeats.

Yvette was first to admit that our offer to the country was too narrow. Many believed we were set against business. Our commitment to ending exploitation in the workplace and promoting corporate responsibility towards consumers and staff were important but we did not say how we would grow our workplaces, to create jobs and stronger growth; how people could have a secure and prosperous future, for themselves and their children.

I'm excited by Yvette's determination to revolutionize our approach to science and research, to champion the white flashing constellations of the networked world. Her aim, to increase investment in science and research to 3% of GDP will deliver millions of new high-skilled, high-paid jobs throughout our country, long into the future. It is, as she says, a down payment on a different future for Britain, for our children and their children after them.

And Yvette shares my belief that Britain should remain in the European Union. We should be leading in Europe, not leaving by the backdoor, and I believe Yvette has the necessary skills to restore Britain's place in world affairs, so badly diminished by David Cameron.

Here in the South West, we had little to cheer at the general election. Despite strong results in Bristol and Exeter, we lost the excellent Alison Seabeck in Plymouth, and too many other great candidates fell just short, depriving our region of more outstanding Labour MPs.

Since that night, across the region, thousands of people who share our values and our sense of common purpose have joined The Labour Party. Many more have registered as supporters. I hope more will follow and I hope that you have your chance to make an informed choice about our next leader, as I have.

I am proud to belong to a party that contains such a broad range of opinions and I'm pleased to see that reflected in the candidates. Each of them has an important contribution to make in the coming five years. My choice is not a rejection of those other candidates or their ideas.

I simply believe that Yvette Cooper understands best the scale of the task ahead of us, the urgent need to restore public confidence in our ability to govern for all of Britain, and that she is ready to lead The Labour Party and our country.

For more information on Yvette's campaign, visit the website: yvetteforlabour.co.uk