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.
The leadership campaign may be over but for Labour the real work now begins. Labour MPs had our say before the summer. Labour members had their say over the summer. Now it's time to give our full attention to the public. The immediate imperative is to deal with the divisions of the campaign. A political Party that argues with itself is unable to take the argument to the wider electorate... So we need the basis for a fresh start for Labour's frontbench, to put behind us the stand-off between Labour MPs and Leader. The responsibility to do so lies with both.
A three-point rescue plan to help stop the housing crisis getting worse as a result of a post-Brexit shock, prevent a sharp slowdown in growth and provide some economic certainty. The Bank of England alone can't protect jobs and homes. If the Conservatives politicians can't offer economic leadership, then Labour must.
As a Treasury Minister, apprehension always hung heavy in the air on the day before a Budget. Would centrepiece polices come across clearly? Would problems we wanted to downplay loom large? Would the Budget go down well with our MPs, with the media and above all with the public? Today George Osborne has much to be apprehensive about. Four months ago in the Spending Review he insisted that the economy was on the up and so "the savings we need are considerably smaller". This week he's been touring TV studios warning that "the storm clouds are clearly gathering" and that billions of pound of fresh cuts now need to be made.
Last Tuesday night MPs were kept in the House of Commons until 2am, as the government forced through their Housing and Planning Bill in the early hours. Tory Ministers had snuck in more than 60 pages of new legislation at the last minute, including redefining 'affordable housing' to include homes for sale costing up to £450,000, and handing local planning over to private companies. No wonder Ministers are scared of debate on this bad Bill. This Housing Bill will be written up in the history books as evidence of a government that washed its hands of fixing our housing crisis.
In the last years of our time in government, Labour put in the biggest public investment programme in a generation into affordable homes to rent and buy. The Tories' slashed that back, which is why the number of low-cost homes to buy have fallen by 28% since 2010 and the number of homes for social rent fell to their lowest level in over twenty years... Now the challenge is to resist the further huge loss of much-needed affordable homes.
Six months since we lost the general election, and Labour has moved on but cannot lose sight of the hard truth that a large section of the public still doubt our ability to make the right decisions on tax, spend and investment. This was top of voters' concerns last May. Success in the elections next May, and in 2020, depends on getting to grips with it fast.