As ballots drop for the Labour leadership I thought it would be helpful for me to explain my position. The rules to elect our leader have changed this time and I appreciate it can be confusing, particularly as I nominated a candidate I am not backing to be leader.
From the beginning of this process, I have publicly and openly backed Andy Burnham to be Labour Leader. You can read why here www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/06/heres-why-im-backing-andy-burnham-lead-labour-back-power. I discussed this with the Sheffield Heeley CLP at the first meeting following the election, alongside my intention to support Tom Watson for Deputy.
Following this meeting Jeremy Corbyn announced his intention to stand.
In order to make the ballot paper, candidates must receive the nomination of 35 MPs. Following many conversations with local members and having received representations it was clear to me that there was a strong local desire for Jeremy to be on the ballot paper. I don't think its fair for MPs to so closely control the selection of candidates so, given Andy already had sufficient nominations, I decided the most democratic and representative thing to do would be to nominate Jeremy to ensure members had the opportunity to vote for him that would otherwise have been denied.
I did this in the interests of Party solidarity and to ensure members had the widest possible choice.
I have continued to support Andy and have had discussions with my local party and constituents about my decision. However, now that nominations have closed, my vote is worth exactly the same as any other party member.
Ballots close on 10th September and the winner will be announced on 12th September. I am sure I am not alone in looking forward for this process being over so we can all get behind the new leader and focus on the real enemies that are doing so much harm to our society and to my constituents.