The Staggers 2 June 2015 Defeated parliamentary candidates call on Labour MPs to back Ben Bradshaw In an open letter to the New Statesman, 14 defeated PPCs from the South and East of England have asked the parliamentary Labour party to put Ben Bradshaw on the ballot paper. Ben Bradshaw, a candidate for the vacant post of deputy Labour leader. Photo: Getty Images Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up 14 defeated Labour parliamentary candidates from the South and East of England have written an open letter to the parliamentary Labour party, asking that Ben Bradshaw, the MP for Exeter and one of a handful of Labour MPs outside London, Wales and the North, is included on the ballot for the Labour party deputy leadership election. "It is imperative," they argue, "that the Labour Party hears the voices of people who campaigned hard here for a Labour victory, of residents who voted Labour, and also of those people who might have voted Labour but who chose not to do so this time". The signatories come from across the party, and include Polly Billington, a former aide to Ed Miliband, now working on Sadiq Khan's campaign for the London mayoralty. To make it to the ballot paper, candidates require the support of 12.5 per cent of MPs - 35 names in total. Bradshaw has eight declared so far. The full letter is below. Dear Members of the PLP, We write as recent Labour Parliamentary Candidates who ran in Southern and Eastern England constituencies at the general election, and who saw up close the disconnect that the Labour Party can sometimes have with voters in our respective towns, cities and urban regions across Southern and Eastern England. With only 12 constituencies of 197 across our regions returning a Labour MP on May 7, it is imperative that the Labour Party hears the voices of people who campaigned hard here for a Labour victory, of residents who voted Labour, and also of those people who might have voted Labour but who chose not to do so this time. With the geographic make-up of the Parliamentary Labour Party now predominantly focused around the North of England, Wales and London, it is essential that the ongoing Leader and Deputy Leader campaigns are representative of the whole country. In order to ensure that our voices are heard, we are calling on the PLP to ensure that Ben Bradshaw MP gains the nominations needed to see him on the ballot for Deputy Leader. Since 1997 Ben has held Exeter, a previously safe Tory constituency, for Labour and indeed he trebled his majority to over 7000 at this election, bucking the national trend. Ben’s successful record of effective campaign organisation, built on an aspirational message for the success of everyone in the City of Exeter, and allied to his hard work as a Constituency MP means that he has the experience, the knowledge and the long-term vision that will be vital in the current debate on the future direction of the Labour Party. Yours, Polly Billington, Thurrock PPC Mark Dempsey, North Swindon PPC Todd Foreman, North East Somerset PPC Michael Foster, Camborne, Redruth and Hayle PPC Sophy Gardner, Gloucester PPC Darren Jones, Bristol North West PPC Naushabah Khan, Rochester & Strood PPC Mike Le-Surf, South Basildon and East Thurrock PPC Jo McCarron, Kingswood PPC Guy Nicholson, Sittingbourne and Sheppey PPC Tris Osborne, Chatham & Aylesford PPC Luke Pollard, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport PPC Matt Turmaine, Watford PPC Mark Dempsey, Swindon North › The Conservatives' attacks on trade unions are an attack on our most fundamental freedoms Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics. He also co-hosts the New Statesman podcast. Subscribe For daily analysis & more political coverage from Westminster and beyond subscribe for just £1 per month!