I am delighted to be on the shortlist for selection in Vauxhall, where I live with my family and am active in the local party. I have the experience and track record to be a powerful voice arguing the radical politics that we need as we move towards a general election. Another world really is possible if we work together to build it.
I was involved in the early days of the Jeremy Corbyn leadership campaign in 2015. With grassroots mobilisation, we were successful against all the odds. Straight talking, honest politics hit the spot. The election defeat of 2015 led to the election of Jeremy Corbyn. Both existing members of the Labour Party and new supporters flocked to the politics of hope. The 2017 general election campaign showed what we can do when we reach beyond the Westminster bubble and people hear our policies.
I have been an MP before, when Labour was both in government and in opposition – taking up many issues that were controversial at the time but are now seen as mainstream in the Labour Party. I argued against austerity and privatisation; for investment in our public services and welfare state; for action on climate change and the environment; the strengthening of employment rights and economic policies which deliver for all parts of the country; took up human rights cases in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Columbia, Mexico, the Gambia and many other countries, and campaigned on arms sales to regimes with poor human rights records.
Our platform of a green new deal, redistribution of wealth, stronger worker’s rights and investment in public services chime with where people are now. We need to invest to tackle knife crime, deliver radical housing reform and change the law to give communities more say over development in their area. We can inspire people with our vision. Every part of the UK must both create and share in our wealth.
I support Labour’s commitment to a referendum on the EU with a Remain option and will campaign to remain in the EU. The Tories’ handling of the referendum and its outcome has polarised the country and caused real anguish in Vauxhall, where there are large communities of EU nationals including the largest Portuguese community outside Portugal. The morning after the referendum, a Polish mother collecting her children at the school gates said to me: “They don’t want us here”.
A quarter of the population are black African or Caribbean, and they are keenly aware of the rise in racist attacks and the threat of the far-right. Vauxhall is also a seat with a large and proud LGBT+ community who are facing increased threats. We need to stand firmly with communities facing bigotry and campaign for the rights of EU nationals including the right to vote in all elections.
Only Labour will be able to offer a strategy that transforms every part of this country. Over the coming weeks, we need to focus on winning individual after individual to our politics of hope and building a movement which can truly transform this country. The aim of my campaign will be to bring as many people as possible on this journey and make sure Vauxhall gets the Labour MP it deserves.