Opinion: Keir can take the fight to Boris

Hampstead and Kilburn MPTulip Siddiq nominated SIr Keir Starmer to be new Labour leader.

Hampstead and Kilburn MPTulip Siddiq nominated SIr Keir Starmer to be new Labour leader. - Credit: Chris McAndrew/Creative Commons

The result of last month’s general election was undoubtedly deeply disappointing for the Labour Party.

As we begin a process of reflecting and rebuilding, we must never lose sight of the fact the Labour Party can only help the most vulnerable in society when it is in government.

Earlier this week, the first stage of the Labour leadership contest ended, with MPs and MEPs nominating candidates for leader and deputy leader.

Candidates who met the threshold of 22 nominations will now seek the support of local Labour Parties across the country, and I look forward to what I am sure will be a highly passionate debate here in Hampstead and Kilburn.

Last week in parliament, I voted against Brexit for what may be the last time. Despite not a single Labour MP supporting it, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill easily passed in the House of Commons.

With a comfortable majority, we are already seeing the Tories getting away the indefensible.

Britain has a proud tradition of being a place of safety for many fleeing from war-torn countries.

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Yet, immediately after the election, the government shamefully removed Lord Dubs' amendment to the Brexit Bill which guaranteed the right of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with family living in the UK.

Throughout the Brexit process, I have consistently said leaving the EU would be a historic mistake and I have stood up for the majority of my constituents who want our country to remain in the heart of the Europe.

But unless there is a miracle in the House of Lords, Boris Johnson's electoral mandate means that we are almost certainly going to leave the EU at the end of January.

Over the coming months, the Labour leadership contest will be an extended job interview, and with negotiations on a trade deal only just beginning, we all know Brexit is far from 'done'.

From my perspective, it's extremely important that we have a leader who is a strong pro-European and will effectively hold the government to account over this critical period, someone who will make it a priority to tackle the issue of antisemitism and someone who puts the values of social justice, equality and fairness at the heart of their policy making.

I was proud to nominate Keir Starmer, whose professional background and ability I believe makes him more than capable of taking the fight to Boris Johnson and reconnecting with the communities who decided not to support the Labour Party in December.

I am pleased that Keir has already met with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard to offer his support, but regardless of who wins the labour leadership, I will be asking them to assist me in fighting to get Nazanin released. This is now the fourth Christmas Nazanin has been away from her family - it's high time she came home to West Hampstead.