There's only one candidate for me: Yvette Cooper

From the despatch box to the dancefloor, Yvette Cooper is the complete package, says Keith Vaz.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

The Labour Party currently faces an enormous task.

We are seeking to find out why voters didn't feel able to put their faith in us, how we need to change to regain that faith and what direction our Party should go in, whilst holding onto what makes us irrefutably Labour.

For us to enter the 2020 election revitalized, invigorated and united, we need a leader with the experience, confidence and drive to tackle these issues head on. We need a candidate who wants to connect with people from every corner of the country, who will stand up for Labour’s values, somebody who has a genuine passion to make life better for people in the United Kingdom.

That person is Yvette Cooper.

As Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, I have seen at close quarters how accomplished Yvette can be in addressing some of the most significant issues facing our country, from terrorism to immigration to policing.

Yvette has been travelling the country, talking to activists and party members, reaching out to all of the individuals, groups and communities which form our Party.

This is all not to mention, that the Labour Party is ready to elect a woman leader. As the longest serving member of Labour's  National Executive Committee from a black or minority ethnic background (BAME), I also know that we need a leader who will champion diversity.

We need to work harder for BAME communities, and not just hope that younger generations will vote the same way as their parents. As Leader, I hope she will give fresh energy and direction to the Ethnic Minority Taskforce which I chair, so we can reinvigorate our engagement with BAME Members of Parliament, councilors, NEC members and local Party activists, to ensure a step change in support for BAME candidates and activists.

I was present at the Labour BAME hustings in Harrow, where Yvette pledged to set a goal to double the number of BAME MPs in a Labour majority Parliament. In this one example, you see how Yvette understands this party at the grassroots level, she will be able to draw together a passionate, mobilized organization in five years’ time. This is what makes her unique.

In Yvette, we have a candidate who is extraordinary at the despatch box, and is then smashing on the dancefloor every year at Labour’s Diversity Night. This is why I am joining many other BAME MPs, Virendra Sharma, Rupa Huq, Thangam Debbonaire, Seema Malhotra, Khalid Mahmood, Shabana Mahmood and Naz Shah in supporting Yvette to be leader.

The Labour Party’s central cause is clear, we are the party which seeks to make everyone’s lives better, and create equality of opportunity for all.

To advance these values and revitalize our party, I can think of no person more effective, more determined, or as politically intuitive as Yvette Cooper. She is ready to lead our party into the 2020 election, and then back into government.