Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, has announced that she will stand for the Labour leadership in an article for the Mirror.
Cooper, who has been an MP since 1997 and an ever-present on the Labour frontbench since 1999, serving at the Department of Health, as the minister for housing, as Chief Secretary to Treasury and Secretary of State for Work & Pensions while Labour was in office and as Shadow Foreign Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary, is the most experienced candidate in the race. In her announcement, however, she plays down her tenure at the top and instead talks about the influence her children have had on her politics:
As a mum of three children I’m in politics not because I’m proud of the past, but because I care so much more about the future.
All of us as parents want the best for our kids – and we worry about what jobs they’ll get to do, whether they’ll be able to afford a home and family of their own.”
Cooper offers her explanation for Labour’s defeat:
In the end, Labour didn’t convince enough people that we had the answers.
They liked a lot of what we had to say, about raising the minimum wage, expanding childcare, cutting tax for low paid workers and banning bad zero hours contracts. But for many people it wasn’t enough to give them hope and confidence we could match all their ambitions for the future.
And when there’s too little hope, optimism or confidence, the politics of anger, fear and division takes over – that’s what the Tories, the SNP and UKIP all exploited and campaigned on in this election.”
And talks about the need to move beyond Labour’s past:
Going back to the remedies of the past, of Gordon Brown or Tony Blair, won’t keep up with the way the world has changed.
We need a Labour party that moves beyond the old labels of left and right, and focuses four-square on the future. Credible, compassionate, creative, and connected to the day to day realities of life.”
This four-month leadership election can’t be just a debate about the future of our party as some have suggested. It has to be a debate about the future of our country.
I’m in politics to make change happen. Because I believe we are an incredible country, capable of achieving anything when we put our minds to it and pull together.
And when we’re determined, together we’re unstoppable.”
Her opponents will hope that she’s not.