Liz Kendall has been the MP for Leicester West since 2010 and Shadow Minister for Care and Older People since 2011. She is a relatively new MP and henceforth, claims that Labour needs a fresh start. Although I do agree that the party needs to change in order to win again, Liz does not have the experience needed to succeed as leader. Economic competence is important to her and this has lead to comparisons between her and the Tory party. She believes in strong welfare reform and recently revealed that she does not oppose the proposed cuts to child tax credits. In my opinion, this is completely wrong and proves that she lacks key Labour principles. I also disagreed with Liz when she said that her party should not have voted to recognise the Palestinian state. As a pro-Palestine advocate I am disgusted with her approach, but also as a human being I cannot understand how she would deny those who have suffered for so long a chance for peace. Despite my obvious disapproval of her as a candidate for leadership, I do greatly respect her as a strong woman. Throughout the campaign we have witnessed her address gender inequalities including when she was asked how much she weighed. This is very important and I do admire her as one of the top women in politics.
Yvette Cooper has been the MP Pontefract and Castleford since 1997 and Shadow Home Secretary since 2011. She gained a lot of experience and knowledge by leading a £100 billion government department when she was secretary of state for Work and Pensions. Mainly, Yvette has impressed me with her commitment to opposing the Tory government and in particular, Theresa May – She held her accountable for her record on domestic violence and refugees. She was also quick to condemn plans to cut tax credits due to them targeting the vulnerable working people who Labour stands to represent. However, she did abstain on the welfare vote and subsequently, I have no choice but to doubt her legitimacy on this matter. Again, I must show my support to Yvette as a strong, powerful women. She has always strived to help mothers and children during her time in parliament. Labour does need to change and Yvette has a strong view for a Labour future. She is one of the few to address the role of the digital economy, showing that she is modern as well as experienced. Overall, Yvette has failed to capture my attention, she does not stand out from the rest.
Jeremy Corbyn has been the MP for Islington North since 1983. He has been in politics for a long time however, I would like to put forward the point that he lacks the experience the other candidates have gained in the Shadow Cabinet. I agree with Jeremy on many matters, particularly foreign policy. He opposed the Iraq war in 2003 and the Afghanistan war in 2001, which have lead to the rise of extremism. He also was a campaigner against Apartheid in South Africa, and today continues to fight for justice by promoting the Palestinian Solidarity movement. I plan to attend university in 2 years and therefore welcome Corbyns calls to scrap tuition fees and respect him for voting against the rise. However, the rise in national insurance and higher corporation tax does not appeal to everyone. In terms of the economy, Corbyn is very much a socialist and this had lead to scrutiny from those who see him as unelectable. To an extent, I understand why people oppose Corbyns candidacy – his plans to increase the tax for the rich ( those earning 50k or more ) are certainly disputable. Also, His lack of interest in the deficit and his economic strategy would not win back previous Labour voters who turned to the Tories. Although, a Labour party lead by Jeremy would definitely appeal to Scotland!
Andy Burnham has been the MP for Leigh since 2001 and Shadow Secretary of State for Health since 2011. Time and time again he has expressed his disbelief in the Westminster elite and instead focusses on devolved powers for local government. I feel that this is absolutely indispensable for two reasons – firstly, Labour was wiped out in Scotland due to an overwhelming surge of support for the SNP. This was because people connected with Nicola Sturgeon who provided an alternative to the out of touch Westminster bubble. Secondly, political apathy is a major concern. Many did not vote due to disillusionment whereas others turned to UKIP in despair. Labour needs to reconnect with people, and Andy will make this possible. Andy was strongly opposed to the Tory plans to cut tax credits. I was shocked at his decision to abstain on the vote. However, I believe that he did what he felt was necessary to keep the party together for a collective vote – a true display of leadership skills. Andy has recently proposed a national care service which aims to integrate the NHS and social care. I believe this is an outstanding policy that would help end the suffering of many. His dedication to keeping the public NHS is just one example of his Labour values. I will be voting for Andy Burnham for Labour leader to help everyone get on in life. He has taught me that competence and compassion can go hand in hand.