As members' ballot papers for the Labour Party leadership election are now starting to arrive and each of us will be making our decision about who to support, I thought I would set out why I am voting for Owen Smith.
Our communities in Leeds Central need a Labour Government. We were founded as a Party to win Labour representation in the House of Commons so that we could change things for the better, but if we can’t win then none of the things we would all like to see will happen. To take just one example, nearly 2,000 people locally are still affected by the Tories’ wretched and immoral bedroom tax. We are committed to abolish it but to do that we have to gain the public’s support in an election. The country needs Labour's values, but at the moment we are ineffective and divided.
I served with Jeremy in his shadow cabinet, but alongside the vast majority of Labour MPs we have come to the conclusion that he doesn’t have the leadership qualities needed to be able to take us to victory. And looking at the opinion polls and his own personal ratings as the Leader of the Opposition, it is now pretty clear that the electorate came to the same conclusion some time ago. He remains a good and a decent man, but that is not enough given the position he holds.
I joined the Labour Party for the same reasons we all did. We believe passionately in the principles of fairness and equality - they are what we stand for - and we want to take those principles and turn them into policies in government which can change people’s lives.
That’s why I will be voting for Owen Smith to be the next Leader of the Labour Party. Owen is a proud and passionate socialist who can unite us. He is someone with the radical ideas we need to take the fight to the Tories and the credibility to take us back into government.
MP for Leeds Central