John McDonnell’s letter to the Parliamentary Labour Party

BY EMAIL 24.05.10

Dear Colleague,

As you know the nominations process for the Labour leadership election opens today. I am writing to ask if you would consider nominating me.

In this leadership election we were hoping that there would be a genuinely democratic contest with a platform representing the diversity of our party, including men and women, black and white and the range of political views from Right to Left.

This started to go wrong from the outset. I am disappointed that Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper never came forward. I was on a number of platforms with Harriet when she stood for deputy and saw how she was able to relate so well to people.

Unlike some other former ministers she did not line up lucrative jobs after the election and has loyally stuck at her task. Similarly I may disagree with many of the policies Yvette pushed through in office but you cannot deny her ability and commitment. I believe that Jon Cruddas also should have run because with Compass he has effectively articulated alternative visions for our party.

Last week Diane Abbott announced she wanted to run as a black woman and I welcomed this. My political approach is not the same as Diane’s and this would be drawn out in the debate if we both get on the ballot paper. She made it clear on her television programme that she is not standing to argue “that the party sets off to the Left.” To have a black woman in the ballot would be a breakthrough but if you look at the talent we have in the party with people like David Lammy and Sadiq Kahn, we should have had more ethnic minority candidates coming forward.

We have two weeks to sort out a platform which truly reflects the diversity of political views and backgrounds of not just our party membership but the country as a whole. I am appealing to Labour MPs to nominate so that all the declared candidates get onto the hustings. This would contrast with the leadership elections of the other parties which were dominated by Oxbridge, middle class, white males, with barely a political difference between them.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to have a chat about this. My numbers are 07xxxxxxxx or 0207 219 xxxx or 0208 xxxxxxxx.

Best  wishes,


McDonnell MP

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