Why I'm Rejoining Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet

07/10/2016 19:00 | Updated 07 October 2016
ANDREW YATES via Getty Images

I was one of the MPs who stepped down from the shadow cabinet in June. I saw a lack of Labour leadership in the post-Referendum turmoil. I said Jeremy Corbyn should step aside as Leader and seek a new mandate if he aspired to lead Labour into the coming General Election. And I supported Owen Smith's leadership challenge.

Now I'm returning to serve on Labour's frontbench. Here's why.

With the leadership election settled, there are two overriding tasks for Labour: to be a strong opposition and a convincing alternative to the Conservatives, and to win back support in the country that we've lost over recent years.

The first is simply impossible with gaping holes in the Labour frontbench - tough enough over the summer recess, terminal for the Official Opposition Party once Parliament returns next week.

The second is near-impossible with a divided Parliamentary Party making it so much harder raise Labour's electoral standing and success.

We've spent the last year largely talking to ourselves. Now we must turn our full attention to what the public have to say so we can work to win the next General Election, which may be early next year.

Every Labour MP I know thinks the same. Some will come to a different view on how they can do their bit, nationally or locally and from frontbench or backbenches. For my part, I believe I can best serve both the Labour Party and the wider public by leading our opposition to the Tories' failed housing policies, and showing how things could be different.

I've served on Labour's frontbench for much of the last 20 years, under four leaders. They all had flaws. And when I spoke to Jeremy today he agreed that that he, and we all, must do better. However, all four were elected leaders of our Party.

Jeremy Corbyn's re-election earns him the right to lead Labour again, and the right to expect backing from Labour MPs. We must now pull together. Our task is to take on the Tories and win over the public.