POLITICS
16/06/2015 07:15 BST | Updated 16/06/2015 07:59 BST

Stella Creasy Wins Backing Of 15 Parliamentary Candidates For Labour Deputy Leadership Bid

Stella Creasy MP speaks during the Progress annual conference, at TUC Congress House, central London.
Laura Lean/PA Wire
Stella Creasy MP speaks during the Progress annual conference, at TUC Congress House, central London.

Stella Creasy has won the support of fifteen Labour parliamentary candidates in her campaign to become deputy leader of the party.

In an open letter published on The Huffington Post today, the candidates argue Labour lost the election because its ground campaign simply was not good enough.

Most of the fifteen stood for election in seats the party would expect to win if Labour formed a government - but they all lost.

"The ongoing leadership debate must include an open, honest conversation about the impact of our ground campaign. In the wake of defeat we tend to analyse the air war and forget the battle on the ground. When, in fact, that is the only element that directly involves individual voters – the most important people in the entire election," they write.

 

"Too often when we campaign, we knock on door number 3, number 19 and number 31. Missing out everyone in between because they’ve told us previously they weren’t voting Labour or writing them off because they 'didn’t bother to register to vote in the first place'.

 

The candidates add: "If we carry on this way, there won’t be many doors left to knock on."

The open letter can be read in full at the end of this article.

Nominations for the Labour deputy leadership contest close on in just 24-hours. In order to make it onto the ballot, candidates have to secure the backing of 35 Labour MPs. It is a crowded field. Tom Watson has the support of 58 and Caroline Flint has the backing of 38. As of last night Creasy has 24. Angela Eagle and Rushanara Ali have 22 each and Ben Bradshaw has been nominated by 19.

In the letter, the candidates say Labour must become a "movement day in and day out" and "not simply in the last six weeks of an election".

"For these reasons, we support Stella Creasy to be our next Deputy Leader. She understands our need to rediscover our roots as a political movement that is equipped to fight and win the battles of tomorrow, as well as today. Stella’s campaign on payday lenders changed lives and managed to persuade voters far and wide of the benefits of a Labour government. But we know from working with her how much more we could all achieve together," they write.

 

"That’s why we are backing Stella. Stella is a campaigner at heart - and we need that in a deputy leader. To win, Labour must learn these lessons UK-wide.  We want to see Labour become the innovative, campaigning movement it was created to be. And to get there, we need Stella as our deputy."

Yesterday Jeremy Corbyn made it onto the leadership ballot with seconds to spare. He joins Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall in the contest to succeed Ed Miliband.

The signatories to the letter supporting Creasy are:

  • Emily Benn, former PPC for Croydon South
  • Emily Darlington, former PPC for Milton Keynes North
  • James Frith, former PPC for Bury North
  • Claire Leigh, former PPC for Tonbridge
  • Bilal Mahmood, former PPC for Chingford and Woodford Green
  • Ibby Mehmet, former PPC, Old Bexley and Sidcup
  • Sean Morton, former PPC for Moray
  • Fiona O’Donnell, former PPC for East Lothian
  • Liam Preston, former PPC for Brentwood and Ongar
  • Sarah Sackman, former PPC for Finchley and Golders Green
  • Alex Sanderson, former PPC for Chelsea and Fulham
  • Purna Sen, former PPC for Brighton Pavilion
  • Sharon Taylor, former PPC for Stevenage
  • Melanie Ward, former PPC for Glenrothes and Central Fife
  • Russell Whiting, former PPC for Suffolk Coastal

Open Letter From 15 Labour PPCs Backing Stella Creasy For Deputy Leader

We worked hard, we campaigned hard, we spoke to thousands of voters across the country – but sadly it wasn’t enough.

In the aftermath of our defeat last month the analysis has come in thick and fast: we weren’t aspirational enough; we didn’t have a broad enough appeal; our message was wrong…

Labour is at its best when part of a broad-based, active and inclusive social movement; when we are proud of Labour's past and ambitious, not just about Labour's future, but about our country’s future.

As Labour Parliamentary Candidates on 7 May, we sought to reach out beyond our traditional supporters to fight for every vote in making Labour’s case for a better Britain for all - and we want to continue to do so. Those who fought alongside us for a Labour government share our pain at not winning the election and need the party to rethink how best to use their time, energy and ideas in rebuilding our relationship with the UK public.

The ongoing leadership debate must include an open, honest conversation about the impact of our ground campaign. In the wake of defeat we tend to analyse the air war and forget the battle on the ground. When, in fact, that is the only element that directly involves individual voters – the most important people in the entire election.

Too often when we campaign, we knock on door number 3, number 19 and number 31. Missing out everyone in between because they’ve told us previously they weren’t voting Labour or writing them off because they “didn’t bother to register to vote in the first place”.

If we carry on this way, there won’t be many doors left to knock on.

In this election, we mobilised tens of thousands of committed volunteers. Imagine what we could achieve for the country if these volunteers became campaigning leaders in their communities. We need Labour to become a movement day in and day out, not simply in the last six weeks of an election. It’s time to have real conversations with the public and it’s time to campaign for change with them, in their communities. By the next election, when we hit the campaign trail and we knock on the doors of voters, we want them to already have seen the positive impact we make as a political movement - not just an election machine - and thereby, put their faith in us to lead the country once more.

For these reasons, we support Stella Creasy to be our next Deputy Leader. She understands our need to rediscover our roots as a political movement that is equipped to fight and win the battles of tomorrow, as well as today. Stella’s campaign on payday lenders changed lives and managed to persuade voters far and wide of the benefits of a Labour government. But we know from working with her how much more we could all achieve together.

That’s why we are backing Stella. Stella is a campaigner at heart - and we need that in a Deputy Leader. To win, Labour must learn these lessons UK-wide. We want to see Labour become the innovative, campaigning movement it was created to be. And to get there, we need Stella as our Deputy.