My Campaign for Labour Leader Will Be Full of Energy, Optimism and Ideas for Securing a Better Future for Our Country

15/07/2016 06:59 | Updated 15 July 2016
Ian Forsyth via Getty Images

It will be a deeply proud moment for me to stand up in my hometown, surrounded by party members, and launch my campaign to be Leader of the Labour Party.

It's clear that this contest takes places at a moment of real crisis for the Labour Party. If we don't now unite, the possibility of a spilt is dangerously real.

This would be unforgivable, especially at a time when the post-Brexit crisis facing the country requires a powerful, determined and credible opposition to stand up for the interests of ordinary people. As I have no doubt the Tories will try to use Brexit as cover for stripping away workers' rights and pushing ahead with even deeper cuts to public services.

The Labour Party is the only vehicle for stopping that happening and giving people hope about the future of politics, in place of deep anxiety.

That is why I intend to run a leadership campaign that is full of energy, optimism and ideas for securing a better future for our country.

At the launch of my campaign and over the coming weeks I will show how Labour can go further than talking about anti-austerity, by setting out ambitions ideas to invest in Britain's future. Replacing failed austerity with credible plans to spark growth and prosperity. Using the full force of government to make a positive change in people's lives.

This will be in stark contrast to the Tories, who this week have again shown their shortsightedness by scrapping the Department of Energy and Climate Change, at the time when global warming is the greatest single threat to our planet. We should be looking to lead the world in green technology, yet instead the Tories are turning their backs on the problem.

Under my leadership, I would also trust the British people to have their say on whatever the final terms of the Brexit deal are. As a result of the lies and misdirection from many senior figures in the leave campaign, we simply do not know what the final set of proposals will look like - although it's certain there'll be no £350million extra a week for the NHS.

So I think it's only right that people get the chance to ratify the deal, through a second referendum or general election.

Yet even though this will be a campaign about policy, I will also back it up with the commitment and competence needed to deliver. During my time serving loyally in the Shadow Cabinet I ran campaigns that forced the Tories to abandon plans to cut tax credits for low paid working families and remove thousands of pounds of support for disabled people.

I'll bring that same energy and determination to the role of Leader, ensuring we run the most effective opposition possible, as a step to delivering the next Labour government.

Owen Smith is the Labour MP for Pontypridd