Labour Party members are casting their votes for who they want to be the party’s next leader and deputy leader.
The four-way leadership contest has hit the headlines with left-winger Jeremy Corbyn – an initial outsider – emerging as odds-on favourite. Mr Corbyn goes head-to-head with Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.
The Examiner asked Huddersfield Labour MP Barry Sheerman to give his views on the four leadership candidates and potential deputy.
The votes are being cast before September 10 and the result will be known by September 12.
Barry on Liz Kendall
I am part of her campaign team. I like her background and I like that she’s looked at why we lost the last general election and that is a) we had the wrong leader and b) economic competence – people didn’t trust us, they still blamed us for the world-wide economic downfall and the Tories ran a huge campaign against us and we were not robust enough to shut it down.
Nobody was enthusiastic about any of the three main parties or their leaders at the last general election, there was no passion for any of them and people were fed up with us all.
In the early days I said I wanted a candidate that was not part of the usual crowd, Liz was not part of the Tony Blair group. She doesn’t have political baggage and I’ve been impressed by her performance. She has tried hard to answer questions that haven’t been asked before.
I would like a woman as leader and what Liz has to do now is show her inner core of steel, show she’s not afraid of being tough, show she has the clarity and courage to lead and unite our party, and show she’s not afraid to square up for a bash around TV or radio studios.
Barry on Yvette Cooper:
I’ve always liked Yvette. People may be surprised because of the interesting relationship I had with (her husband and former Chancellor) Ed Balls and I do think it’s a tragedy we lost him at the last election.
But Yvette is her own woman. Like Liz she has a steely personality that can shine through. Yvette has got a lot of experience in government so if Liz doesn’t come through then I hope it’s Yvette and that she will bang the drum for real change in the party and country.
Barry on Andy Burnham:
He’s my third choice. I worked with him during his year in education and we got on. The one thing I would say against him is he’s always been comfortable in one department, health, and he needs to look wider than that.
He needs to learn not the Blairite lesson but the Harold Wilson lesson. He needs to unite all factions of the party, the left and right and he needs to show his leadership credentials to the middle ground. He also needs to show he has economic competence to manage the economy.
Barry on Jeremy Corbyn:
I like Jeremy. He’s an affable guy and I’ve known him for his whole Parliamentary career but he’s got some odd views on defence and international affairs. They seem old-fashioned ideas and I think he’s trapped in a world that’s moved on and he hasn’t.
If he wins then I will be peacemaker. If people vote for him then I want to do what I can to help us win the next election, but he is my 4th choice. I will also be interested to see how the rebel whips people into line.
Barry on the deputy leadership contest:
I’m backing Caroline Flint, she’s got the steel I like and she is honest and upfront. There’s a few others I like. Ben Bradshaw is a great guy and very competent, while Stella Creasy has shown what a great campaigning MP she is by tackling pay day lenders. She’s marvellous on social media and she shouldn’t be underestimated.
I hope it’s not Tom Watson as deputy leader, he’s a mover and a shaker for Unite the union and we need to show people we are not doing the work for Comrade Len (McCluskey). We don’t want Labour to be run by heavies from Unite but by and for our members and for the good of all.