I am very sorry to see a number of MPs leave the Labour Party this week. At a time when our country is riven with division and anxiety over Brexit, and the damage the Tories have caused to our public services is visible across the whole country, we should not be seeing the resignation of Labour MPs.
The Labour Party, our Trade Unions and the wider Labour movement are a part of my DNA, just as they have been for generations of my family. There is no question of me leaving the Labour Party.
I grew up in the North West, very close to Liverpool during the 1980s. I saw at first hand the huge damage inflicted by the Thatcher government which decimated both vital industries and public services, and entrenched inequality in our communities. A decade later when I moved to Brixton I saw how the same Tory policies were continuing to damage our communities here in Lambeth and Southwark.
Since 2010 we have again seen the devastating impact of successive Tory-led governments. The Tories have brought our NHS to its knees, overseen huge increases in homelessness and rough sleeping, forced millions into poverty through cruel policies like Universal Credit, and subjected our schools and Councils to unsustainable swingeing cuts.
I see the impact that the Tories are having on people living in our area every single day in my inbox and constituency surgeries, and it is truly heart-breaking.
Serving as the Labour Member of Parliament for Dulwich and West Norwood is the greatest honour of my life and I want with all my heart to see a Labour government. I will continue to fight hard against the Tories in Parliament and my constituency and to lead Labour Party members to campaign against the Tories in the marginal constituencies where we must win to form the next government. And I will continue to represent both my constituents in Dulwich and West Norwood and local Labour Party members who are overwhelmingly opposed to Brexit.
When the time comes I will be standing again to be re-selected as the Labour candidate to fight the next general election as the Labour candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood.
The Labour Party was founded by a broad coalition of left of centre interests, bound by shared values of equality, social justice and internationalism. When we in the Labour Party have put aside our differences and focused outwards, united with a positive agenda intent on sweeping the Tories from power, we have achieved truly transformative change together, of which we can be immensely proud.
When the Labour Party has focused on our internal differences, we allow the Tories to continue with their damaging agenda unchecked and fail to defend the most marginalised. I want to see the Labour Party continue to reflect the range of left of centre views it has since its creation in 1900 and to be a tolerant, inclusive and diverse party committed to equality and vigorously opposed to all forms of racism including anti-Semitism.
The split in the Labour Party in the 1980s helped keep the Tories in power for a record breaking 18 long years. And it was the most marginalised and vulnerable in our society who suffered the most. So, no one who cares about seeing Labour deliver a transformative programme in government and reverse austerity should be celebrating resignations from the Labour Party.
This week’s resignations should cause all Labour members to pause and reflect on the reasons that some Labour MPs have taken the sad decision to leave the party and the extent to which we are working together, across internal disagreements, for a Labour government.
I encourage all Labour Party members to focus on the things that unite us, rather than on areas of disagreement, to reach out to those in the Labour Party who share a different viewpoint from your own, and to ask what you can do to help take the fight to the Tories rather than focusing on internal division.
The need for a Labour government has never been more urgent. My commitment to fighting for that goal is absolute, as is my commitment to a tolerant, inclusive and diverse Labour Party fighting the Tories for equality and social justice.