POLITICS
07/01/2020 06:00 GMT | Updated 07/01/2020 08:29 GMT

Rosena Allin-Khan Launches Labour Deputy Leadership Bid

Doctor and former humanitarian aid worker to challenge favourite Angela Rayner for job.

Labour’s Rosena Allin-Khan has launched a bid to be Labour’s deputy leader, pledging to restore trust in the party. 

The shadow sports minister has said Labour must listen to the public and not try to “put words into people’s mouths” in the wake of its devastating election defeat to the Tories. 

The Remainer was a key figure in the campaign for a second Brexit referendum, has repeatedly called for action on anti-Semitism within the party’s ranks and is a trained doctor who previously worked in humanitarian aid.

The Tooting MP will face Jeremy Corbyn ally, shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, and runaway bookies’ favourite Angela Rayner, who holds the shadow education brief.

Ian Murray, Labour’s only remaining Scottish MP who has three times survived a strong SNP challenge, is also expected to run. 

Daughter to a Polish pop star and a Pakistani TV repair man, Allin-Khan has a working class background and studied medicine at Cambridge with the help of a scholarship. 

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MP for Tooting Dr Rosena Allin-Khan.

Since entering parliament in a by-election when Sadiq Khan stood down to run for London mayor in 2016, she was promoted to the shadow frontbench as sports minister, working in a team with the then shadow culture secretary Tom Watson. She has used the role to campaign for free standing at football grounds and against racism. 

Whichever of the candidates emerges victorious on April 4, they will be tasked with re-orienting the party in opposition to Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, which now has an 80-seat majority. 

Announcing her bid, Allin-Khan said the Labour Party “shaped my values” and offered her chances in life. 

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Dr Rosena Allin-Khan.

“It gave me the ability to represent my community and provided me with the opportunity to train as a doctor to harness the skills to listen and serve people – regardless of their age, background or personal struggles,” she said. 

“I want the Labour Party to be in government again to afford the current generation the hope that was offered to me.” 

Allin-Khan said it was “vital” to “restore trust” after Jeremy Corbyn led the party to its worst defeat since 1935. 

She said: “It is clear that people did not trust us - we need to accept this fact, evaluate it, and learn from it in order to move forward. We cannot put words into people’s mouths. Our path back to power involves listening with humility to those former Labour voters who have abandoned the party.  

“I believe my life experience means I can help our movement do this. As a doctor, I cannot guess or assume what is wrong with a patient - I have to listen to their symptoms and investigate the root causes - this is what we must do as a party, and is what I will do as deputy leader.”

The contest to replace Corbyn will run in parallel to the deputy leadership race, with Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Jess Phillips, Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long Bailey among the candidates.

Nominations open formally this week, with the ballot taking place between February 21 to April 2. 

The general public will be able to take part in the leadership election if they join the party by next week or if they pay £25 each to register for a one-off vote, the NEC decided.

A 48-hour window will be created to allow people to sign up as so-called “registered supporters” with voting rights.