DAVID BLUNKETT has appealed to Labour activists to “vote for the future and not the past” after backing South Yorkshire MP Caroline Flint to become the party’s next deputy leader.
Writing exclusively in The Yorkshire Post, Labour’s respected elder statesman said the Don Valley MP’s engaging style of community politics will help the party to win back lost voters.
Ms Flint, the Shadow Energy Secretary, is one of five candidates vying to succeed Harriet Harman as deputy leader – the favourite is Tom Watson whose crusading exposed the scale of the News International phone hackinf scandal.
“Caroline not only has the experience of front line politics but also represents a former mining area in Yorkshire where people speak their mind, say what they really think, and mean what they really say,” writes the one-time Home Secretary who was awarded a life peerage last week after standing down as the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough MP at the last election.
“She has fought her corner for progressive politics for as long as I have known her, and that included a spell when she was an excellent Minister in the Home Office team in some very difficult and challenging circumstances.
“Whether it is in rebuilding a Labour Party capable of winning elections and taking office, or in presenting to the public the face of that Labour Party which is outward-looking and engaging with the real world, Caroline is the person to support.”
Mr Blunkett, who has endorsed Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham to succeed Ed Miliband, also said that Labour “owed it to the British people” to elect a credible leader – a rebuke of the left-winger Jeremy Corbyn who is odds-on favourite to win the contest. “I sincerely hope therefore that those who do not remember the 1980s, and those who do but with some form of misplaced nostalgia for the battle to save local democracy, and the future of the mining industry – where we went down to glorious defeat – a glimpse of history might ensure they vote for the future and not the past,” he adds.