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14 August 2015

Dan Jarvis: All male leadership team would send a “terrible signal“

Whoever wins, we need a leader capable of uniting all sides of the party, and we can't have an all-male team. That's why I'm backing Stella Creasy, says Dan Jarvis.

By Dan Jarvis

Whatever the outcome of the leadership election, we know that there will be many in our party who are disappointed with the result. Someone winning inevitably means that others will have lost.

It will take time for wounds to heal – particularly after a fractious contest. That is why it’s vital we choose a deputy leader who can unite the party. Someone who can rise above the divisions and bring us together to focus on the real fight of challenging this divisive Tory government.

I back Stella Creasy as the unity candidate for deputy leader because whoever wins the leadership race, I believe she can do this job – and do it with compassion, vision and integrity.

She has drawn praise from all parts of our movement and spoken clearly of the need for Labour to move on from the tribalism that has plagued our past and could risk our future.

She is supported by MPs who back each one of the four leadership candidates, demonstrating her broad appeal and ability to work with everyone. And Stella is the choice for deputy leader that would enthuse and inspire Labour members – as shown again in recent days by a LabourList poll of party supporters.

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A vote for Stella can help guarantee that Labour will not have an all-male leadership team. For that to come to pass in this day and age would send a terrible signal about Labour being stuck in the past rather than a modern campaigning force ready to face the future.

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Stella will help ensure that we can draw on the broadest range of support inside and outside Parliament. Like myself, she is part of a new group of politicians in the Labour Party, elected from 2010 onwards. We’ve only ever sat on the opposition side of the House of Commons and share a deep desire for this to change.

However, the scale of the challenge is so great that ‘business as usual’ just won’t cut it. Now is the time to think radically about how we work – and this is where Stella really stands out. She has bold ideas about how we campaign in the future, how we harness technology and find genuine ways to engage with people.

Her award-winning, law changing campaign on Wonga highlighted her natural abilities in this field. And as part of her deputy leadership campaign she’s delivering campaign training sessions across the country. She’ll prioritise renewing Labour as a movement, not a machine.

I have been particularly struck by how popular she is with Labour Party members outside our traditional activist base – demonstrating her ability to be heard above our internal chatter and really connect with people. These members are our greatest asset and I know that Stella will be able to offer them the support and motivation they need and deserve.

Stella is tough and a woman of real substance and principle. But what I admire most is her ability to deliver. I have great faith that when she pulls the levers, something actually happens. That’s what we need in a deputy leader. Vision alone is nothing without the ability to implement it.

Stella is undoubtedly the candidate who can help build a better Labour Party that we all want to be part of. However you decide to vote in the leadership election, I urge you to support Stella to be our next deputy leader.