Over 35% of Labour council leaders in England, Wales and Scotland – a total of 46 out of 125– have come out in favour of Keir Starmer as their preferred candidate in the party leadership contest.
Ahead of the Local Government Conference including leadership hustings taking place in Nottingham on Saturday, more than a third of Labour’s local authority leaders have signed a letter supporting Starmer.
The top local government figures have explained that they are supporting the London MP for the top job due to his “vision, values and integrity”, as well as his “track record of giving a voice to the voiceless”.
“As Labour leader he will end divisiveness, unite our movement, and provide real opposition to the government,” the letter reads, adding that he is “the candidate with the greatest chance of winning power”.
The list of signatories includes 28 who lead councils in areas of the country where a majority voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum. 12 represent areas in London, nine in the North West and eight in Wales.
Below is the full text of the letter signed by 46 council leaders.
As leaders of Labour councils we’re proud to be making a positive difference to people’s lives day in, day out. After losing 60p from every £1 in funding that the last Labour government provided, Labour councillors have been forced to make difficult choices. But we have always put our Labour principles into practice by protecting vital public services, prioritising building council housing, and tackling the climate emergency.
We agree with Nye Bevan’s famous assertion that socialism is the language of priorities but his next words, that ‘only by the possession of power can you get the priorities correct’, are just as important. We are only in a position to deliver our socialist values from our town halls because we have first won the trust of local people at the ballot box. The communities we serve desperately and urgently need a Labour government, not just a strong opposition. Our new leader must be someone who shares Bevan’s view that our party exists to win power, so that it can deliver the radical policy priorities that will change our country for the better.
That is why we believe Labour’s next leader must be Keir Starmer. We are backing Keir because of his vision, values and integrity, and for his track record of giving a voice to the voiceless. As Labour leader he will end divisiveness, unite our movement, and provide real opposition to the government. And most crucially we are supporting him because we believe he is the candidate with the greatest chance of winning power for a purpose and becoming Labour’s next Prime Minister.
Council leaders are all too aware that the next set of local and mayoral elections are less than 100 days away, so our next leader must be ready to have the qualities required to reconnect with communities where the party needs to win to get back into government. Another future really is possible if we have the courage to seize it. Keir Starmer is the right choice because he has the credibility and experience this mission requires, and we urge Labour members to join us in voting for him as our new leader.
1 – Michael Payne, Deputy Leader, Local Government Association Labour Group
2 – Georgia Gould, Deputy Chair, London Councils; Leader, London Borough of Camden
3 – Sir Richard Leese, Leader, Manchester City Council
4 – Sharon Taylor, Leader, Stevenage Borough Council
5 – Louise Gittins, Leader Cheshire West & Chester Council
6 – Andrew Morgan, Leader, Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
7 – Peter John, Chair, London Councils; Leader, London Borough of Southwark
8 – Stephen McCabe, Leader, Inverclyde Council
9 – Jane Mudd, Leader, Newport City Council
10 – Shaun Davies, Leader, Telford & Wrekin Council
11 – Nesil Caliskan, Leader, London Borough of Enfield
12 – John Clarke, Leader, Gedling Borough Council
13 – Stephen Alambritis, Leader, London Borough of Merton
14 – David Baines, Leader, St. Helens Council
15 – Iain Malcolm, Leader, South Tyneside Council
16 – Tom Beattie, Leader, Corby Borough Council
17 – Anthony Hunt, Leader, Torfaen County Borough Council
18 – Huw David, Leader, Bridgend County Borough Council
19 – Tricia Gilby, Leader, Chesterfield Borough
20 – Steve Cowan, Leader, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
21 – Tony Newman, Leader, London Borough of Croydon
22 – Alan Waters, Leader, Norwich City Council
23 – Huw Thomas, Leader, Cardiff City Council
24 – David Ellesmere, Leader, Ipswich Borough Council
25 – Damien Egan, Executive Mayor, London Borough of Lewisham
26 – Steve Curran, Leader, London Borough of Hounslow
27 – Rob Stewart, Leader, Swansea Council
28 – John Biggs, Executive Mayor, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
29 – Brenda Warrington, Leader, Tameside Council
30 – Jack Hopkins, Leader, London Borough of Lambeth
31 – Andy Abrahams, Executive Mayor, Mansfield District Council
32 – Sam Corcoran, Leader, Cheshire East Council
33 – Steve Siddons, Leader, Scarborough Borough Council
34 – Ian Roberts, Leader, Flintshire County Council
35 – Norma Redfearn, Executive Mayor, North Tyneside Council
36 – Christopher Hammond, Leader, Southampton City Council
37 – Neil Moore, Leader, Vale of Glamorgan Council
38 – Danny Thorpe, Leader, Royal Borough of Greenwich
39 – Ian Gilbert, Leader, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
40 – James Swindlehurst, Leader, Slough Borough Council
41 – Julian Bell, Leader, London Borough of Ealing
42 – David Jones, Leader, Bury Council
43 – Mohammed Iqbal, Leader, Pendle Borough Council
44 – Roger Truelove, Leader, Swale Borough Council
45 – Mohammed Khan, Leader, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
46 – Alyson Barnes, Leader, Rossendale Borough Council
47 – Bob Cook, Leader, Stockton Council