Despite the bleak nature of December’s election result, some consolation can be found in Labour’s new parliamentary intake.
From former coal-mining towns in Wales to the steel city of South Yorkshire, working-class districts of London and the red strongholds of the North West, socialist MPs were elected who will bolster the Left’s parliamentary presence in the years to come.
In this article, seven of these MPs from across the country introduce themselves to Tribune readers in their own words.
In a strange way I have my predecessor Mike Gapes to thank for getting me into politics. I lived and grew up in Ilford most of my life, and then spent eight years as a Labour councillor next door in Chadwell Heath, which is split between Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham. But it was the events of the early 2000s — and Mike’s involvement in them — that got me into politics.
At the time I was still stacking shelves at Ilford Sainsbury’s. I distinctly remember one of my best friends from primary school telling me that he had joined the RAF ground troops regiment and thinking, well, the way things were headed, we would soon be at war in Iraq, and not one person I knew in Ilford thought that was a good idea. I thought about my friend, potentially sacrificing his life for a cause that wasn’t just, was probably illegal under international law, and would almost certainly set a fire ablaze across the Middle East that would take decades to burn out. And so it proved.
Around that time, I also remember other friends of mine that I trained with in a local spit and sawdust gym where I lived in Ilford. They were young Muslim lads, proud of their religion — so they wore it visibly. I remember talking with them about being stopped regularly by the police, about a raid on one of their homes, taking different journeys to work to avoid hostile eyes on the tube. I remember them feeling that they were suspects just because of how they looked, because of the so-called War on Terror.
So, with activists from the local mosques, churches, Quakers, trade unions, Tamil Buddhists and others we founded Redbridge Against the War — and spent many days outside Mike Gapes’s office making clear our opposition to his disastrous support for invading Iraq. Now, sat looking out of the window of the office he once occupied, which is now my constituency office and owned by local Labour Party members, I can see the mosque hall where I organised my first ever political meeting. More than two hundred turned up to hear Tony Benn, Tariq Ali, and local community leaders speak against the folly of that war.
Before running as a candidate for Ilford South, I worked as a trade union official for the TSSA union for eight years, leading campaigns across the country to defend transport workers, while also changing the national debate to put forward a proactive vision of how our transport system could be more efficiently and cheaply run in public hands for everyone’s benefit. I’ve also served for the past few years as the President of CLASS think tank, working alongside its brilliant Director, Faiza Shaheen, to bring the lives of working people, and the economic agenda that can lift them up, to the forefront of political and economic debate.
I was involved in the founding of Momentum, and remain involved to this day, as well as in the establishment and running of the New Economy Organisers Network. I also helped to deliver trade union funding to get The World Transformed off the ground. I believe, sincerely and strongly, that the Left must build its own infrastructure and institutions if we are to become a hegemonic project that will sustain itself in the long-term. The last election showed the need for that more clearly to me than ever.
Yet it is Ilford — and East London — that has shaped me and my outlook on life, from my first job working as a cleaner at Redbridge College as a fifteen-year-old, to working in supermarkets and call centres to pay my way through university. It’s where I joined the Labour Party after a local socialist councillor said that I really should get involved.
That journey into the Labour Party, accelerated by finding a home comfortably in the trade union movement youth sections then the Young Fabians, led me to stand and win as the first left-wing chair of National Young Labour since shut down of LPYS. In turn, this led me to work on Jon Cruddas’s campaign in 2007 to be deputy leader, through excursions to Scotland to attempt to win left Labour leadership there, and ultimately to Jeremy Corbyn’s second leadership race in 2016. The latter means I have even more of a responsibility to be honest about what went wrong, where we failed, and to understand how we rebuild, reconnect, and get ourselves back on a pathway to power.
It will always be Ilford though, where I first got involved. I became active in anti-fascist campaigning with Searchlight in Redbridge alongside veteran Jewish anti-fascists like Gerry Gable and later went on to work for Hope Not Hate as a community organiser. Growing up in such a multicultural community — with working-class people whose histories and roots span the world — taking on the racists on the streets and at the ballot box was a duty to my friends, family and loved ones.
I spent four years of my life organising and educating against the scourge of the racist BNP, who had won 12 seats on the council in Barking and Dagenham. The proudest moment of my life was leading the campaign to defeat them in 2010 — organising with my local GMB trade union branch, churches, mosques, former Ford plant workers, and Second World War veterans determined to halt the return of Nazism to political life.
It was a hard path, but the skills it taught me, and the lessons I learned, are the ones that guide me even now. Ultimately, even though I am now an MP, I can never quite give up being a grassroots community organiser and campaigner. Walking by on the other side of the road has never been an option for me.
As a newly-elected MP, I am on such a steep learning curve. There are so many procedures and rules — so many right ways of doing things — that you can lose sight of why you are here in Westminster. That’s exactly what I don’t want to do! I must keep in the forefront of my mind at all times the reason I stood for election to parliament. It’s because I want to see society transformed to one that puts people before profit — a socialist society — a society that is fair, caring, and compassionate, a society where my children can look forward to a productive future free from wars and poverty, and free from the threat to our climate and our planet.
You can call me an idealist if you like — what’s wrong with having ideals and wanting to achieve them? Some people criticise the recent Labour election manifesto for being too ambitious — how can you be too ambitious when proposing policies to end the inequalities in our society? To end Universal Credit, to end families’ dependence on food banks, to invest in our underfunded infrastructure, to fund a green industrial revolution or nationalise essential services?
I was born and brought up — and continue to live with my family — in the Cynon Valley, which I am now honoured to represent in parliament. Cynon Valley is an old mining community, proud of its history and heritage, but affected severely by the deindustrialisation and austerity measures of recent years. It has a forward-thinking local authority that tries to protect local services, but it is fighting a rearguard action against central government policies.
Our Welsh Assembly government is underfunded and this has a knock-on effect on services locally, such as health and social care. The Labour-controlled Assembly tries to mitigate the worst effects of austerity measures in Wales with imaginative policies around school holiday provision for children, for example, but child poverty figures remain high in Wales because of our history of poor funding and lack of investment.
This is a world away from the privilege and wealth I see around me in Westminster, and I frequently ask myself how people like Jacob Rees Mogg can make decisions that effect people living in my community. They have no experience whatsoever of the problems faced by my constituents and the pattern of their daily lives. There is a serious disconnect.
While I am trying to work out how to draw the speaker’s attention in parliament, my constituents are worrying about having to wait for their next benefit payment to cover their rent or feed their children. It sounds dramatic, but that’s the reality. I volunteered in a food bank, and I worked for Shelter Cymru. My PhD is in social exclusion among older people in Wales. I know these problems are very real ones for far too many people — and Tory government policies have hit the poorest the hardest.
Some people are suggesting that we should change our policies to win elections. They quote the example of Tony Blair — who took us into an illegal war, supported marketisation, promoted a ‘Third Way’, and brought in PFI (not operated in Wales, thanks to our Welsh Labour government). But never mind all that! He won elections, they say.
If we sell out on our principles the long-term damage to the Labour Party and to the interests of people we aim to represent will be significant. There is an implication in this argument that socialist policies can never win elections, and I do not believe that is true. We have work to do to convince people of the arguments, remembering that we have a powerful media to battle against. But we can do it. The post-war years and the establishment of the NHS also showed what can be achieved by a Labour government that has the political will.
In Wales we currently have a Labour government in our Assembly, but that is not guaranteed for the future. It is my view that we need a debate about how we engage with other political parties that have a progressive programme — though not necessarily a socialist one. The Green Party and Plaid Cymru are a case in point. The enemy of the working class is the Tory government, and we must begin to look at how we work across party lines to fight back against such a powerful Tory majority.
We cannot be sectarian in the present climate — we must look to our common ground and stop the backbiting that occurs far too often between parties who should be looking to see where they can unite around commonly-held policies and principles. This could include electoral pacts. Our primary focus must be to ensure that the people of Cynon Valley, Wales, and the UK as a whole do not suffer from Tory policies again — and that calls for unity of the Left.
We will not strengthen Labour in Wales — or anywhere else — by selling out on our socialist principles. We will strengthen Labour by being out there in our communities promoting our policies, fighting for our constituents, making sure we get the best funding deal possible for Wales (especially given the Brexit situation), joining the action against climate change, and calling out this government at every opportunity — whether it’s their support for Trump, or their continuing of austerity. I shall be out there, in Cynon Valley, arguing that together we can change society for the many not the few.
I am proud and honoured to have been elected the MP for Liverpool Riverside as the first ever black MP for Liverpool. I believe it’s a very sad indictment for a city like ours with such long-established multi-ethnic communities that it’s taken this length of time to increase representation.
The 2019 election was described as ‘the election of our lifetime’, and it certainly was for me. I’m nearly 60 and was thinking about early retirement this year, but here I am taking on the biggest and most exciting challenge of my life.
I know first-hand the issues that effect some of our most deprived communities. The work I did before being elected, in adult social care for Liverpool City Council, provided experience of the devastating impact that austerity has had on the public sector and our most vulnerable residents: rising homelessness, increasing drug and drink dependency, mental ill-health, increasing reliance on food banks, and reduced access to relevant services.
Growing up in ‘Liverpool 8’, I would never have believed that I would be elected as an MP for the area in which I still live. It was the most ethnically diverse area in the constituency at that time, and still retains high levels of diversity today, as well as deprivation.
I was politicised at an early age by my dad, who encouraged me to read Robert Tressell’s classic novel of working-class experience: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, and made me join a union when I first started in the tax office aged 18. I have been a Labour Party supporter since I was a teenager, and joined the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU) when I worked as a community development worker in the Dingle in the 1980s. It was at this time that I became aware of the need to protect workers’ rights, and the importance of solidarity and collective responsibility with the slogan ‘an injury to one is an injury to all.’
My political journey continued throughout my teenage years, attending rallies and demonstrations against racism and fascism whenever it raised its ugly head. I experienced first-hand the consequences of the draconian policies imposed by the Thatcher government.
My dad worked in the construction industry and he was left unemployed after finishing his job on the Royal Hospital site at the end of the 1970s. He had to sign on the dole which literally killed him — he died aged 51 in 1981, leaving my mum to raise five kids as a widow at 41.
My mum struggled working nights at a biscuit factory to support us all. Watching this shaped my socialist views and spurred my desire to fight for change and to push for equality of opportunity for all.
I’ve been an active trade unionist for over ten years in UNISON, becoming a steward to advocate on behalf of workers’ rights. I was elected as the deputy chair of the Regional Black Members and Women’s Committees at the 2019 AGM — but had to stand down when I began to campaign to become an MP. Now, I’m really excited to be sitting on the green benches in Westminster with my fellow new Liverpool MPs, offering a true socialist voice for the people of Liverpool.
As I said in my election speech, Westminster wasn’t designed for people like me, a working-class black woman from Liverpool; it was designed to intimidate, exclude, and keep us out. The establishment have tried their hardest, but they won’t know what’s hit them when we take up our rightful seats on those benches. An early day motion has already been submitted to get rid of The S*n from the parliamentary estate.
The Labour Party continues to be one of the largest socialist parties in Europe, thousands have been inspired to join because of the transformative manifesto produced for the general election, but sadly we did not get the result we expected or deserved.
As a socialist I am committed to improving the life chances for the constituents of Liverpool Riverside, this would have happened if elected into power, and if we had been able to deliver on our manifesto. Instead, we are now faced with the prospect of another five years in opposition and the need to reflect on what went so badly wrong in some of our heartlands. But we should also look at what went right in Liverpool and Merseyside.
The Labour Party is a broad church, we can’t afford to create more divisions as we go forward. Our enemies are not the comrades sitting next to us, but the Tories who have brought the most deprived communities to their knees.
The upcoming leadership election will be crucial in determining how we, as a party, prepare for the next twenty years, and whether we stay our course with what some people have called radical policies, but what I believe are common sense approaches to rebuilding this broken country. Under Rebecca Long-Bailey and Angela Rayner, this will be possible.
Sheffield Hallam is a diverse and beautiful community. I’m proud to be its representative in parliament. It stretches from the busy, cosmopolitan Crookes High Street in the centre of Sheffield — bustling with students and families going about their business — through the leafy suburbs of Dore and Totley, into the majestic countryside of the Peak District. Along its rivers and valleys, you can see the vestiges of our industrial heritage: the remains of old mills and loading machines.
The area has been home to a long line of business magnates like Thomas Boulsover, the inventor of Sheffield plate silver, but also folk heroes; the village of Loxley in Stannington is birthplace to Robin of Loxley, or Robin Hood, as he’s more widely known. From its pubs on any night you can hear the sound of traditional music, or the more modern Sheffield tones of Jarvis Cocker and the Arctic Monkeys.
Hallam is a seat of contrasts — past and present, town and country — but also wealth and poverty. People think of the constituency as affluent and point to the so-called ‘Millionaire’s Row.’ In the election we knocked on these doors — but in neighbourhoods nearby we also spoke to constituents hit by the bedroom tax. In Sheffield Hallam areas of the city with the lowest index of deprivation sit alongside some of the highest.
Austerity has taken its toll too. Before becoming an MP, I represented my ward in local government. As deputy leader of the council, I saw first-hand the effects of the government’s slash-and-burn policies. Sheffield’s budget has been cut in half over the decade, making it nearly impossible to deliver vital services.
Young people are at the sharp end of the Tories’ economic agenda. They face rising mental health problems, those who go to university are saddled with mortgage-levels of debt before they even think of buying a house, and in Sheffield Hallam, our schools have suffered a funding decline of nearly 10 per cent per pupil. The last government even admitted that funding levels were inadequate for our children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Our communities and their shared local history have also been damaged. My constituency is home to the Plough Inn. The second oldest football team in the world, Hallam FC, was founded there and it is also where the rules of football were first written down. Today, campaigners fight to keep it open.
The area’s inequalities are thrown into sharp relief by the scandal of the Moorlands — majestic and fragile ecologies burnt by wealthy landowners for the sake of grouse shooting. This act of vandalism has robbed people of the countryside that should be the right of everyone to enjoy. It’s also destroying the biodiversity of the area, putting species, such as the bilberry bumblebee, at risk. The Moorland fires, and the biodiversity they threaten, underline the importance of supporting the Peak District National Park, entering its seventieth year.
Those fires also contribute to the international climate catastrophe. The peat on the Moorlands locks CO2 into the ground, but fires across the UK have thrown millions of tons of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. Across the globe, we’ve seen the results of fires like this, combined with over a century of irresponsible emissions from our economy and industry: floods, fires, and heatwaves, creating waves of climate refugees who join the victims of war-torn countries to create the biggest migrant crisis in history.
We need a just transition to a zero-carbon economy, and we need it now. I strongly support Labour’s pledge to work towards a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The only way we can tackle the climate crisis is by ending the inequality at the centre of our economy. We need to end the cuts that have so badly harmed Sheffield Hallam, and back a Green Industrial Revolution — a new economic settlement that places people and planet at its heart, investing in sustainable energy, green infrastructure, and high-skilled jobs. To implement it we must redistribute power from the few who have done so little to tackle the climate emergency, to the many who have the greatest interest in ending it.
It was this people-powered programme that galvanised the election campaign in Hallam. Few people expected us to win, but our plan to rebuild public services with a Green Industrial Revolution cut through the contrasts in the constituency. It inspired hundreds of volunteers to knock on doors, deliver leaflets, and have the persuasive conversations that led us to beat the odds and return a Labour MP. I’m honoured to be the representative of this movement in Westminster, standing up for our planet, and fighting to redistribute power and wealth into people’s hands.
When I was elected MP for Poplar and Limehouse on 12 December last year, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for all of those who voted for me — and for everyone in my constituency. As with so many campaigns up and down the country, mine was driven by people taking time out of their busy lives to have political conversations across the community on doorsteps, on phones, and in people’s homes.
I saw the best in people throughout the campaign: strangers inviting canvassers into their houses to chat and stay warm; volunteers taking care of each other in committee rooms; people becoming politicised and finding purpose in politics for the first time. As I said on election night, my victory was not mine alone: it was the victory of all those people who contributed to the campaign.
In the same way, the things I am most proud of in my life have come not just from my efforts but from the hard work, love, and struggle of others. I have lived my whole life in my constituency, growing up in a council estate. I got to know my community in all its diversity and dynamism. I found solidarity and purpose in work for my local council and university — as a proud member of Unite and Unison.
I’ve fought hard against the vicious cuts to our public services under Conservative governments over the last decade because they have torn apart that social fabric. I’ve seen how insecure work and low wages leave people without the dignity they should have in their workplaces. I know from members of my community how the injustice of Universal Credit has left people desperate, straining friendships and family relationships. It’s as simple as this: hollowing out our public services has made our lives harder and worse.
Parliament is a strange place. But I have felt comforted by meeting other new MPs, many young like me, and many who — like me — identify proudly as socialists. This new crop of socialist MPs has a shared commitment to ensure we share the power we are granted with those who have traditionally been excluded from politics. We need to make sure that we deepen our democracy through our work in Westminster. It’s that belief in democracy that is the foundation of my support for mandatory reselection.
I’ll be honest. It’s been strange coming into parliament as the media and others leap on the election result to roll out self-serving narratives as to why we didn’t win. Narratives that don’t ring true when I think about what I heard on the doorstep about the principled leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, or the bold vision represented by our 2019 manifesto. The result was devastating for all of us. But we must be under no illusion about the agendas behind what is being said.
In these strange times, it’s been comforting seeing someone putting themselves forward for the Labour Party leadership, Rebecca Long-Bailey, who has the head and the heart for tackling the challenges ahead.
As a 29-year-old, I am part of a generation that has grown up with the threat of climate change, which has only become more visible following the tragic fires in Australia and floods in Indonesia. Rebecca Long-Bailey has done the hard work to build Labour’s Green Industrial Revolution so that we have a solid programme — founded on public ownership and regional investment — to tackle that climate and environmental emergency.
She has also done the hard work of bringing people together — especially trade unions and environmental campaigners — to build consensus around our policies. The labour and climate justice movements will be vital in bringing people together in the years ahead.
Rebecca Long-Bailey can do this in the right way: from a position of principle, grounded in socialist values, with a recognition that Labour’s heartlands are wherever the working class is, in all its diversity, from Shadwell to Sheffield, from Mile End to the Midlands, with the knowledge that sometimes we need to bring people together to build our power to fight the establishment. I believe she is the only candidate who can unify constituencies like mine, Poplar and Limehouse, with the Leave constituencies that we lost in the election.
I’ll be voting proudly for Rebecca Long-Bailey in our leadership contest. My constituency has a long history of activism, from the Battle of Cable Street to the 2010 student protests. I know under Rebecca we will have a leader — and a future prime minister — who can galvanise the best progressive traditions of this country.
We will need the strength of all of those traditions, all of our communities, to bring down this Conservative government and to win a better future. I won’t shy away from the fight.
I was born in Liverpool Wavertree so it’s a huge privilege to have been elected to represent its constituents in parliament. I know only too well what it feels like to have a Tory government inflicting harsh and unequal policies on northern cities. Growing up in Liverpool in the eighties was a hard time. I was raised by my mum, after my dad passed away two weeks before my second birthday. She worked all of the hours that she could to make sure I didn’t go short or hungry.
My political views were ignited by these attacks from Thatcher’s government and her controversial Poll Tax, which saw so many people pushed into poverty with bailiffs knocking at their doors, including ours. Neighbourhoods seemed to be constantly losing their jobs as factories closed and work at Liverpool docks started to dry up.
It was this experience that first exposed me to the importance of community and socialism. My childhood was a happy one, where everybody seemed to look out for each other; we stuck together. People were proud of what they had and were always willing to share whatever they could, whenever they could.
This instilled the socialist beliefs and principles that I still hold dear, the principles on which I have built my career and on which I campaigned for. I firmly believe that we have to find ways of helping people when they need it, not leaving people behind or pulling the ladder up, and not focusing purely on self-interest.
Our 2019 Labour manifesto resonated loudly on the doorstep in Liverpool — for me it summed up the kind of progressive political agenda that this country not only needs but deserves. We need to remember that Labour is still by far the largest party in this country and we are growing; our membership is growing again. This is not something we speak enough about at times, but it is something we need to focus on converting into an election victory.
It is encouraging that people are prepared to get involved. However, we have to move beyond a people-powered campaign. We need to show real practical action about what Labour is and build trust about what we will deliver from activists working from the ground up.
Over the last six months in my constituency it has been clear that only a Labour government will do, and people were prepared to put aside their views on Brexit — Leave or Remain — to achieve that. But Brexit was still divisive. We have a job to win back the traditional Labour heartlands and those who left us because they felt their democratic right was being ignored; it’s no coincidence that fifty-two out of fifty-nine lost Labour seats were in Leave constituencies.
But we need to be clear, Labour’s policy agenda was popular. We didn’t lose because of our commitment to scrap universal credit, invest in public services, or abolish tuition fees. People want a fairer society where their voice is heard and wishes acted upon.
Over the past decade this government has slashed local authority funding and moved to a system where local authorities rely on the business rates and council tax they collect locally. There is a big problem with this. When Liverpool raises its council tax by 1 million it provides an extra £1.75m in funding. When the same increase is made in Surrey, it gives that council £7.6m. That is not fair and it is one of the many things that we need to tackle.
We as a party need to reconnect in our heartlands and beyond and install hope back into these communities. As Tony Benn said, we have two choices — be angry about injustice, or hopeful that we can build a better world.
I am angry that we don’t have a Labour government that would have changed the lives of millions of people for the better. But I am an optimist and I’m hopeful that a better world is possible. This spurs me on to hold this hostile and pernicious government to account at every opportunity, so that we can work to achieve a more fair and equal society for all.
It is the greatest honour of my life to represent my hometown of Stockport. The election campaign was not easy, and I am lucky to have a dedicated and hard-working team around me. The Labour Party in my constituency bucked the national trend and we performed better than we expected. In fact, the Labour majority in Stockport in this recent election is greater than it was in the 2005 and 2010 elections.
I am grateful to the Communication Workers Union, Unite the union, and members from my Constituency Labour Party for donating to our general election campaign fund. We would have struggled without their financial support.
As a newly-elected MP, my focus is on being a good constituency representative and building strong links with Labour and trade union members, as well as communities across my constituency. I have been busy meeting community groups such as Friends of Heaton Chapel Station and the 4 Heatons Traders Association. My main priorities for Stockport are decent housing, public transport, well-paid jobs, and climate justice.
For those who don’t know me, I live in Brinnington with my family. I worked in the retail sector in Stockport and across Greater Manchester before getting involved in my trade union. I then worked as a trade union organiser for Unison, organising the scores of care sector workers who suffer from a precarity that has become the norm for too many people in too many workplaces. I saw first-hand how care workers support some of our most vulnerable residents while struggling against poverty wages, unmanageable workloads, and chronic underfunding.
I am delighted to be in the pages of Tribune again, having written three times previously since its relaunch. I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to write about the Grunwick Strike of the 1970s, when trailblazing Asian workers led by Jayaben Desai fought back against poor conditions, victimisation, and degrading treatment from a bullying management. It is figures such as the Grunwick strikers who inspire me, as well as the rich radical traditions of my own constituents. Stockport’s townspeople stood by the Chartists and the early trade union movement in the nineteenth century. Several of our residents fought against the fascists in Spain. Perhaps most infamous was the Roberts Arundel strike of 1967, when 145 workers of Stockport stuck with each other after refusing to bow their heads to an anti-union company management.
It is these traditions that live on in the Stockport Labour Party, and the town’s Labour council, which has introduced the Real Living Wage for the care workers I used to organise. I will bring these principles into parliament; knowing that far too many of my constituents have lost all faith in our public transport service, one of my first acts in parliament has been to join the All Party Parliamentary Group for Rail to help campaign for better rail links for Stockport.
Another one of my first votes in parliament was to oppose the government’s inhumane attempt to remove the child refugee protections championed by Alf Dubs. Remembering Tony Benn’s guiding quote that ‘the way a government treats refugees is instructive — because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.’ It’s hugely disappointing that Boris Johnson’s government has blocked child refugees from being reunited with their families — I cannot imagine a more callous or despicable act. I pledge that I will continue to campaign for the rights of child refugees and all vulnerable people.
The recent election has been difficult for our party and our movement, but I think it is important that the debate over where we go next is respectful and examines the long-term challenges facing us. I have nominated Rebecca Long-Bailey for leader as I think she has the best chance of rebuilding our party and ensuring that we form the next government. Rebecca understands why we lost seats in the Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire; she has an inspiring vision and a credible plan to win these seats back, as well as taking marginals from the Tories in 2024.
Our movement is clearly disappointed by the recent defeat, but we must work together to make sure that Labour can return to government as soon as possible.