Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Stella's statement launching her campaign to be deputy leader

"All Labour members who have been out campaigning recently will have heard it.

You knock on the door and someone answers and says: ‘We only ever see you at election time - you just want one thing.

It rarely does justice to years of hard work by the local MP and councillors. But it poses the challenge that Labour has to meet if it is to win power again.

Let’s be frank. Too many voters think Labour is no longer a movement of people across the country committed to social justice, but a machine that only kicks into gear at election time.

Difficult though it is to accept, for millions who share our values, Labour is no longer seen as their voice for change or the vehicle for delivering it. Since Keir Hardie’s time we have fought the poverty, inequality and injustices that hold back too many.

We sought office not just to change governments but to change lives. The minimum wage, the NHS, devolution, equality law. Each a testament to how, at our best, we have been a force for good, changing Britain for the better.

This passion for social justice still beats strong within our members today. And as we watch this Tory government dismantle the welfare state, destroy the lives of our young people and demoralize the public sector, never more has Britain needed the fire for change and faith in an alternative.

Today I am standing to be deputy leader of the Labour party to help restore that fire and faith in our party.

“This is about more than 650 people in Westminster - Labour has always been able to achieve change from the grassroots up, not just on the green benches of parliament.

Too many people now see politics as an elite sport, for the few not the many. That means we miss out on their ideas and actions as they get put off taking part. I want to change that.

Our members are our best asset. They are people who believe fairness, prosperity and opportunity is open to all, not just those with the money or means to buy success. And the people who are willing to stand up and defend this principle in their own communities.

Since the election, 30,000 people have joined Labour to make us 230,000 strong - if we ignore them until an election comes round, we do them and the cause we all serve, a disservice.

But that doesn’t mean treating every day like polling day. To harness their passion for social justice we have to offer them more than a leaflet round or a three hour procedures committee.

I want to tap into the energy, enthusiasm and experience of every man and woman who wants to speak up for a different kind of Britain. Just because you join a political party, it doesn't mean you stop campaigning for change.

So I want us to get back to our roots in fighting injustice. Whether tackling legal loan sharks or taking on the Twitter trolls my track record shows I know how to work with people across Britain to take on those who exploit or harass the vulnerable.

Now I’m standing to be Labour’s deputy leader to ensure Labour is once again a movement and not a machine.

Labour has to renew and rediscover its voice in every community across our country.

Together we can again be a force for good for Britain.

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