Mon, 27 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Keir Starmer will rebuild Labour's credibility, secure public trust and win power

3 min read

Keir Starmer is the leadership contender best placed to win back the voters Labour failed to convince in 2019 and to retain the coalition of support that is so vital to winning back power, writes Anna McMorrin MP. 

The Labour Party is in a pretty dire place right now. The election dealt us a severe blow but didn’t come as a surprise to many. The crushing defeat last month has given us an opportunity to rebuild and become a party of power once more. And we need a leader who will inspire, lead and bring the party and the country with us. For me that leader is Keir Starmer.

The Cardiff North election was very different to the rest of the country. Against the odds, I won with a landslide, almost doubling my majority. It was a successful campaign, won through sheer hard work, a brilliant team, volunteers and supporters from all areas and backgrounds, a successful ground operation and a campaign fought on our values of fairness, cooperation and inclusivity. 

Crucially I built a coalition of support that crossed political boundaries and encouraged people from all backgrounds to support me. But this was in spite of our leader not because of him. I lost count of the number of times he was given as the reason for not wanting to vote Labour. Many people who had voted Labour all of their lives could not bring themselves to vote for us because they simply did not trust the man who may become Prime Minister. 

So we changed the conversation. I focused on being a local, credible and trusted voice and made a promise that it was me they would be voting for. We worked hard and didn’t veer from the campaign strategy. It worked and gave me a mandate for honest, sensible politics. But I want to be proud to be able to bring the leader of our party to Cardiff North.

Keir was the first front bench colleague to visit me during my campaign in 2017 and again in 2019. With very little time to spare he made the effort and made it to the lovely high street of Rhiwbina. He was warmly greeted by volunteers and supporters and, in the fading winter’s sunlight, as we walked through the village speaking to passers-by, it was clear that here was the person had charm and charisma, who would not only listen to what people had to say but who could bring people together and could be trusted to lead not only the party but the country.

He has reached out to colleagues and supporters across the country - to Wales and Scotland. His willingness to devolve further much needed powers to Wales and a sharp focus on tackling the climate crisis gives me hope.

Keir is credible, principled, values-driven and trusted. He is the leadership contender best placed, not only to win back the voters we failed to convince in 2019, but also for helping MPs like myself to retain that coalition of support that is so vital if we are to win back power. 

Being the next leader of our party will come with great challenges: Rebuilding our credibility, securing trust amongst the public, uniting our party and winning power. I believe that Keir can and will do that.


Anna McMorrin is Labour MP for Cardiff North.

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