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Lammy calls for public vote in Labour leader contest

David Lammy MP

Tottenham MP David Lammy is to call for the Labour party to ditch the ‘New Labour’ label and rebrand itself through allowing the public to vote in the upcoming leadership election.

Lammy, who increased his majority in his north London constituency at the general election, makes the call in a forthcoming article for the Fabian Review, previewed in the Independent newspaper today.

Lammy praises the coalition government for ‘modernising and rebranding the Conservative party’ and proposes that the Labour party does much of the same, but only after some serious soul searching.

He writes: “The new political reality is this: the new coalition government has done more to modernise and rebrand the Conservative Party than anything since Margaret Thatcher. Cameron is no longer the prisoner of his party’s Right flank. He has the chance to earn the trust of the British people in government.

We must also recognise the significance of our own defeat.”

Significantly, he accepts that he was wrong to support the Labour party’s ‘coronotion’ of Gordon Brown in 2008, and calls for an end to the culture of ‘Blairites v Brownites’ and the banishing of the ‘New Labour’ label.

To do so, he proposes that the public be involved in the party’s leadership election.

He writes: “We need to renew our trust in democracy itself. In the leadership election we should introduce a fourth electoral college: the public. One fourth of the votes, alongside members, MPs and Unions, should go to the people who will elect the next government of this country. We should not fear enfranchising them. In the longer-term we need a new democratic culture within our party. We must put the long shadow of the 1980s behind us and give our members a proper voice in their own party. Members should be balloted over policy for our next manifesto, for a start. If we think this is just about leadership, we have big problems.”

Dominic Bascombe

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