Lisa Nandy urges Labour members to 'be brave' and back her as leader

Posted On: 
13th January 2020

Lisa Nandy has urged Labour members not to make the "easy choice" but to back her "brave" campaign for the party leadership.

Lisa Nandy said Labour was "in retreat" after their election defeat
Credit: 
PA

In a pitch to activists, the leadership hopeful said it was not the time to "play it safe" as she warned the party would "die" unless it changed course in the wake of its historic election defeat.

Speaking just moments after it was confirmed she had secured the nominations of enough MPs and MEPs to move to the next stage of the contest, the Wigan MP said the party was "in retreat" after the loss many of its traditional heartlands at the election.

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She will now face fellow candidates, Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Jess Phillips and Rebecca Long-Bailey in the battle to secure support from unions and local Labour party groups.

Launching her campaign in Dagenham, East London, she said: "These have been a bruising few years and a shattering defeat.

"But now is not the time to steady the ship or play it safe. If we do not chance course we will die and we will deserve to. This is the moment when we up our game and recover our ambition.

"So I am asking you to make the brave, not the easy choice, in this leadership contest."

She added: "The stark reality is the path back to power runs not along our red wall but across a red bridge that connects our town and cities and streches from Dagenham and Fulham, Aberdeen to Glasgow and Cardiff to Wrexham."

The former Shadow Energy Secretary also suggested she would look to establish an "international commission" if elected leader in a bid to reverse the party's collapse in Scotland at the hands of the SNP.

"Now is the time to look outwards, paint with broad strokes and set up an international commission, led by and for Scottish people, that seeks to learn from a few examples where at times in modern history the cause of social justice has beaten divisive nationalism," she added.

"I believe there is more we have in common as a nation than tha which divides us. This is the country that lies beneath the surface and it must be heard."

Ms Nandy, who stepped down from Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum, also criticised the leadership's stance on Brexit, saying it left Labour candidates in an "impossible situation" in the election.

She said the choice for prospective MPs on the doorstep was to "be for Labour, or to be for community."

"You could not be both."