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The Fightback Starts Now – Richard Burgon writes for Labour Outlook, #Richard4Deputy

“We can’t win by accepting the status quo, which fails communities across the country. We must never go back to pandering to anti-migrant racism, supporting illegal wars or voting for welfare cuts which the poorest the hardest.”

Richard Burgon MP

Thank you to Labour Outlook for your support in my campaign to be Labour’s Deputy Leader and giving me the opportunity to set out my priorities to your readers.

As Secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, founded by Tony Benn, I believe our values of peace, equality and socialism are more necessary than ever.

Recent years have shown beyond doubt that members want both a united top leadership team and a Deputy Leader that will always stand up for Labour members and trade unions. I never quit the Shadow Cabinet when the going got tough, and whoever is Leader, I’ll be a team player laser-focused on winning back power.

With the Tories pursuing a reactionary and divisive agenda, the fightback needs to start now. We can’t wait five years to take the fight to the Tories and that is why I will be a campaigning Deputy Leader focussed on building a members-led Party that’s rooted in all our communities.

Building this fightback against the Tories now is vital to regaining the trust of all the voters we lost, winning around new voters and going on to win the next general election.

As part of this, we need to be clear that Labour has to reconnect with all our former heartlands and beyond – whether they voted leave or remain. Now is the time to drop those labels and seek to be a party that represents the full working class. Of course, any path to power requires us to win back the more than 50+ Leave seats we lost, to make gains in Scotland and to keep the seats we have won in Remain voting areas in recent years.

That’s why I’ll chair a Special Commission on rebuilding all our lost support. It’s also why I have committed to visiting every seat we lost in my first month in office and every constituency in the country in the next two years to hear what members and voters think, including in our key target seats.

We must learn the lessons of our defeat, but that can’t be code for rolling back the popular policies of our last two manifestos. From public ownership of rail, mail and water, to creating a Ministry of Employment rights to give all workers real rights from the first day of employment, to a Green Industrial Revolution, these offer real solutions to the problems our communities face.

But these great policies alone aren’t enough. That’s why as Deputy Leader, I’ll be Organiser and Campaigner in Chief for party, and will build powerful local campaigns that show, day after day, whose side we’re on.

As part of this, I’ll overhaul our messaging to focus on 10 key policies that are easily explainable on the doorstep. I argued that we should have had a pledge card for the December election so that voters were clearer about what we stood for.

I’ll also fight to maintain and deepen the trade union link, and strengthen community organising and political education initiatives.

We also can’t win by accepting the status quo, which fails communities across the country. We must never go back to pandering to anti-migrant racism, supporting illegal wars or voting for welfare cuts which hit the poorest the hardest.

That is why I will always stand up to the establishment, just as I have as an MP and before. Before being an MP, I was a trade union solicitor. As an MP, I voted against the 2015 Tory Welfare Bill and supported Jeremy in both leadership elections. When I sued The Sun, I used the compensation to create a local internship.

As a candidate for Deputy Leader, my three key pledges to you are:
● Open Selection so members and trade unions you can choose their candidate at every election
● A new Clause IV to hardwire support for public ownership into our constitution
● A Labour Peace Pledge so we never again repeat the mistakes of Iraq

Our communities, in all their diversity, need a Labour government. Whatever hostile parts of the media may say, there is a road back to power, with a members-led Labour party.

Put your trust in me as Deputy Leader, based on these three core pledges, and we can work together to make it happen.

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