To say we have a mammoth task ahead of us to rebuild Labour in Scotland is an understatement.
The events of May 7 and the subsequent days left all of us reeling. We lost fantastic MPs and failed to win with candidates who would have done their constituents proud – despite tireless campaigning and hard work by our fantastic Scottish Labour team.
The Scottish Labour Party must re-group, re-build and look to the future – there is too much at stake for us not to. A combination of Tories at Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood is too much of a threat to the future opportunities and aspirations of communities across Scotland for us not to unite and advocate our progessive values.
Our party has to fully get to grips with the huge challenges we face over the next five years and what we must do to to win back the trust of those who supported Labour for decades – yet lost their faith in us at the general election.
We in the Scottish Labour Party are wholly responsible for making the tough choices and implementing the real change needed to ensure our own recovery.
However it is also crucial we work together as an integral part of the UK Labour Party because when Labour does well in the UK it does well in Scotland. We need a Leader with experience, who is not afraid to tackle difficult challenges head on and who has the passion and determination to get us back on course so we can form the next Labour government in 2020 – and who is fully supportive and ready to support our fight back starting with the Holyrood elections in 2016.
I’m backing Yvette Cooper to be the next Labour leader because she has the right values and appeal to win back support across Scotland and in Middle England.
She sees how important it is for us to have a strong Scottish Labour team to hold the SNP to account for their eight years in power where they have failed to implement any re-distributive reforms, be proud of our Labour values and take on the SNP over their damaging plans for full fiscal autonomy which would see Scotland facing austerity-max.
Born in Inverness and a former employee of John Smith, Yvette has roots here in Scotland and cares deeply about the politics of separation that we are now battling against.
She is committed to solidarity – that we care about communities in Motherwell just as much as those in Milton Keynes.
She was the first of the leadership candidates to come to Scotland, less than two weeks after announcing her intention to stand, as the first stop on her Win Back tour of the country.
By making her first visit so early on in the campaign, Yvette showed she was willing to start having the difficult conversations with former Labour voters who voted SNP in May that are so vital to us moving forward straight away.
And as anyone who has seen Yvette in action in the Commons knows, she would be a formidable opponent more than capable of taking on the Tories every step of the way.
She understands the huge shift in the political landscape following the referendum and has a clear vision for what we must do to challenge it – and that’s why I want her to be our next Labour Prime Minister.