When I first met Rosena, she was Labour’s candidate in the 2016 Tooting by-election.
As a by-election candidate myself in Heywood and Middleton in 2014, I know how difficult and uniquely pressured by-elections can be and I wanted to help Rosena win the seat after the amazing Sadiq Khan left to become London mayor.
As soon as I met Rosena, I knew that Tooting would soon have another fantastic Labour MP. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm inspired her whole team. I also knew that Rosena wouldn’t be just a backbench MP but that she would bring her skills and experience to the parliamentary Labour party and she’s certainly done that in her role as shadow sports minister and with her background as a practising A&E doctor in our NHS.
The choice of who to support in the deputy leadership contest has been a difficult one for me. I know all the candidates and they’re all people I am proud to call friends. But it’s Rosena who has most impressed me in this campaign and I think she has the qualities that we need in our new deputy leader.
After the disastrous election result in December 2019, where I lost my seat to the Tories – the first time that they have ever taken Heywood & Middleton – Rosena was one of the first people to contact me, to commiserate but also to talk about what went wrong and how we rebuild from here.
She came up to my constituency to talk with key activists about the campaign and we explored every aspect, from Brexit through to our manifesto and the Labour leadership. We talked about Heywood and Middleton being a 62% Leave voting constituency and how I had tried to represent the views of all my constituents in trying to get a deal that worked for 100%.
Rosena understands the issues that we face here in the North and I know that she is going to be a great campaigning deputy leader who will reach out across the country to win back those lost Labour seats in the North, the Midlands, Scotland and Wales.
I see the role of deputy leader as being a campaigner, an organiser, an advisor and also a critical friend. I think that Rosena is more than capable of doing this job, and doing it extremely well. I am wary of any offer of leader/deputy leader ‘dream tickets’ suggesting a cosy, already formed relationship. The deputy leader has to be able to stand back and assess situations critically and I know that Rosena has the independence and strength of character to do this.
I know how hard Rosena has worked to become a qualified doctor, and she’s not only continued to work shifts at St George’s Hospital, keeping her grounded and in touch with our NHS but she’s also done great humanitarian work reaching out internationally.
I’ll never forget her impassioned speech in parliament when she returned from the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh where she’d been providing medical care to people who have nothing – no citizenship, no home, in many cases no family and no prospect of their situation improving.
Rosena has the strength, knowledge, intelligence and empathy needed to unite our party and also to take our message out to the wider public. And whoever becomes leader, she will be a unique complement to them. I’m proud to call Rosena a friend, and I’m proud to support her to be the next deputy leader of the Labour Party.
Rosena Allin-Khan kicks off Labour deputy leader campaign in Putney with ‘fire in her belly’
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan launched her deputy Labour leadership campaign in Putney last night.
The campaign, held in the ballroom of the Star & Garter pub, brought together an eclectic crowd, including some young first-time voters.
Tooting MP Dr Allin-Khan, who is running with the slogan ‘Taking Labour Forward’, is a qualified A&E front-line doctor and has provided humanitarian aid to refugees in Syria.
Describing her determination to be the next deputy leader, she said: “Expertise in building trust in communities and shared life experience has put fire in my belly to achieve for others.”
She set out her ‘internationalist’ vision of Britain’s future after Brexit and brought attention to the importance of social care reform, the significance of a grassroots revival and updating technology within the Labour Party.
Labour’s Putney MP Fleur Anderson said that Dr Allin-Khan would be a ‘campaigner-in-chief’ and not a ‘leader-in-waiting’ if elected as deputy leader in a PoliticsHome article last week.
The Musician’s Union has given their endorsement to Dr Allin-Khan and to Sir Keir Starmer for leader.
Voting takes place from February 24 to April 2 and results will be announced on the April 4.
Labour needs to become a party of progressive internationalism once againLast Tuesday, a boat capsized and sank in the Bay of Bengal. There were 138 Rohingya refugees crammed on the boat, fleeing from camps in Bangladesh. At least 15 bodies were found, including four children, with 50 more missing.
I’ve been campaigning for the rights of the Rohingya since the recent crisis unfolded in 2017. I’ve been involved in humanitarian matters long before entering politics and standing to be Labour deputy leader.
Stories such as those of the Rohingya do not often have a light shined upon them here in the UK. They happen far away and it feels as if they’re outside of our control. The UK has a proud history of humanitarian assistance and we must ensure that this continues. We must never allow ourselves to turn a blind eye. Every single human life has equal value, no matter where that person was born, what language they speak or what they look like. Humanity has no borders.
This isn’t just something I believe in principle — I act on it. My work as a humanitarian doctor has taken me to the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, where grieving mothers told me accounts of their babies being ripped from their arms and murdered before their eyes. The guilt of coming home to my own three- and five-year-olds left me unable to sleep at night. Why should their lives be of more value to the world than those of the Rohingya children who are slaughtered without a dignified burial?
I have seen how human life is not valued equally around the world. It lit a fire in my belly to continue fighting such injustice, no matter where it takes place.
At the very heart of my Labour principles is internationalism. I believe this spirit of internationalism must drive everything we do as a party. We must always stand in unwavering opposition to any effort to restrict freedoms, whether here or globally. We’ve seen where this mentality leads — whether it is the tragedy of Windrush, the cruelty of detention centres like Yarl’s Wood, or the inhumanity of a government that votes against protection for vulnerable child refugees. Now is the time for all of us who believe in progressive, internationalist values to fight back. It is our duty to ensure that the Rohingya and other victims are not forgotten by the world.
One of the reasons I decided to stand to become the next deputy leader of Labour is because I believe our party has a unique chance to become a global beacon of internationalism, as it has been before. We have arguably the largest grassroots membership of any political party in Europe. If we are able to unite behind a truly internationalist vision for our party and our country, we could be a force for change on a global scale.
We have a wonderful society, which has welcomed so many people from across the world, but this government’s hostile environment is diminishing hope — hope for a brighter future, hope for a tolerant society.
I first entered politics in order to shed light on humanitarian efforts around the world and give a voice to the voiceless. I still believe we can, and I want to help rebuild the Labour Party so that it becomes a powerful force for good. As a party we need to rebuild trust with our communities, with the British people and the international community. Let’s do this together.
Rosena Allin-Khan is Labour MP for Tooting and candidate for the deputy leadership
The Musicians’ Union has nominated Keir Starmer to be the next leader of the Labour Party, and Rosena Allin-Khan to be the next deputy.
The party-affiliated organisation has become the fourth trade union to back Starmer, and the first to back Allin-Khan.
In 2015, the union nominated Andy Burnham for leader and Caroline Flint for deputy, and in 2016 it backed leadership challenger Owen Smith.
Commenting on their nomination on Twitter, the Musicians’ Union said Starmer had been “a strong supporter of musicians”.
“He understands the challenges musicians working in the EU are facing and what we need to do to meet them”.
The organisation also revealed in a tweet that Allin-Khan was a “former Musicians’ Union member” and said they were “proud to see her rise so far” and “to support her as she continues fighting for young people to have a free musical education.”
Starmer has already secured his place on the final ballot through both the support of affiliates, including large trade union UNISON, and the backing of local Labour parties.
To reach the ballot paper, each candidate must be nominated by 5% of local parties or three affiliates, two of which must be trade unions, amounting to more than 5% of the total affiliate membership.
Starmer has been nominated by a total of 159 constituency parties so far, as well as UNISON, Usdaw, SERA, Community, Labour Movement for Europe, Labour Business and the Socialist Health Association.
Allin-Khan has yet to secure a place on the final ballot, having so far only secured the support of 17 CLPs and the Labour Campaign for International Development.
Fleur Anderson MP: As Deputy Leader, Rosena Allin-Khan would be a campaigner-in-chief, not a leader-in-waitingRosena Allin-Khan is a real campaigner – she knows how to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in, writes Putney's new MP, Fleur Anderson.
The night of the General Election result was a deeply distressing moment for all of us who love the Labour Party and who love our country. It was an horrific experience to watch the door close on a whole generation as the Tories won a huge majority to continue their destructive and damaging agenda.
But I was also hugely proud and honoured to produce the only Labour gain of the night, as I became the new MP for Putney. It was, I hope, a rare bright light in an otherwise long, dark night for all those Labour activists, members and volunteers who worked tirelessly during the election. Rosena’s help and support was vital to that win. She is my friend and colleague, as we were councillors together and she is the MP for the neighbouring constituency of Tooting.
It’s sometimes forgotten how difficult it can be for prospective parliamentary candidates, especially ones who’ve never stood to be an MP before. Of course, it’s a huge honour to be given the chance to represent your local community, and to make their voices heard in the corridors of power – but you also have to put your life on hold for months, spending hardly any time with your friends and family, working and campaigning relentlessly, whatever the weather, rain or shine. And at the end of it all, there’s absolutely no guarantee you’ll get the job, especially in a marginal seat like Putney. It’s incredibly rewarding, but it’s hard work too. Rosena was there for me every step of the way, helping me, guiding me, giving me advice and encouragement and very practical support too. I cannot thank her enough.
She is a real campaigner – she knows how to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in, and every single voter who meets her comes away with a positive impression and a smile on their face. I should know - we stood to be Councillors together in the same ward in 2014 - fighting a seat that had been Tory for 24 years - and we won, through sheer hard work and positive conversations. Rosena is a relentless optimist – she always finds the positives in every situation and she never gives up, no matter what. Her life-story is a true demonstration of our Labour values – she comes from an impoverished background, failed her A-levels first time around but persevered, and because of reforms introduced by a Labour government, she was able to study at Cambridge and become a doctor before becoming an MP - it shows the difference a Labour Government can make to the lives of people across our country.
Rosena is now running to become the next Deputy Leader of Labour. There’s no doubt she’s the underdog in the race, but that’s never stopped her before, and I know it won’t stop her now. She would be a phenomenal Deputy Leader of our Party, and that’s why she’s got my total support. She’s got the most interesting and substantive ideas of any of the candidates, and she’s already published a fantastic Grassroots Revival manifesto of how the Labour Party can improve our campaigning practices to get back to winning ways ahead of the local elections in May. As Deputy Leader, she would be a campaigner-in-chief, not a leader-in-waiting. In Putney, I saw the real difference she made with her energy, her optimism and her campaigning skill. Thanks to Rosena’s help, we turned blue seats into red ones, and if she’s elected as the next Deputy Leader, we can start doing that across the whole country - at both a local and a national level. Let’s take Labour forward.
Fleur Anderson is Labour MP for Putney.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan: As a doctor and as a daughter I know social care is broken.
The deputy leadership candidate has spoken about the horror of finding her dad - who has dementia- injured and not knowing what happened. She wants to make sure no other family has to suffer that way.
Nothing prepares you for finding your loved one bruised and blooded. Nothing prepares you for never finding answers. This is the reality that every day, so many people are living through, across the UK, because of the nature of the social care system. Nothing prepared me for being one of the statistics.
My father has fronto-temporal dementia – he cannot communicate his thoughts but he is fully aware of what is happening. My brother and I found him bloodied and bruised on more than one occasion, we have sought answers but we know that we will never find them. He is safe now, but his health has deteriorated massively and has affected his life expectancy.
This is not just my reality. This is the reality for so many others across the country.
I am lucky. I was able to call a debate last year and get The Mirror to cover my family’s journey. Most people don’t have that luxury. Instead, they’re left fighting the social care system.
I’ve been on both sides. As an aggrieved family member and a local politician with a responsibility for social care, I’ve seen the strife that goes into placements on both sides. The system is failing our most vulnerable residents.
As it stands, the social care system is not fit for purpose. The Tories promised in their manifesto that they would tackle social care. It’s been three years – and yet still no Green Paper, despite countless promises.
Last week, in Parliament, I asked the Health Secretary how many more families will suffer before the Government looks to reform the social care system. There was no answer.
As an A&E doctor, who regularly sees vulnerable older people stranded in hospital because they don’t have access to adequate social care, and as a daughter, who’s had to go through this process, I have the following recommendations:
- A truly independent complaints process – formal complaints should not have to go through the care provider or local authority who the complaint is against.
- A reformed process for awarding care contracts – to ensure that failing companies cannot simply change their name and continue providing inadequate care.
- An Independent Advocate for Older People – to protect and promote the rights of older people.
- Mandatory CCTV with an opt-out – CCTV in communal areas within care homes should be mandatory to provide evidence of any unacceptable behaviour in a care setting.
- A fully funded social care system, integrated into our NHS, with a ban on outsourcing to private companies.
Increased funding alone won’t solve the problems being faced by our most vulnerable – only enacting the above changes will. At some point in our lives, we all have an experience with the social care system – as a daughter, I know how difficult it is when this system fails you.
As Labour Deputy Leader, I would continue putting pressure on this Tory Government and their poor record on social care. As a society, we must protect our most vulnerable – sadly, nothing prepares you for confronting the worst. As your Deputy Leader, I would work with the Leader of the Labour Party to put the NHS and social care front and centre of our policy going forward. We need to protect our most vulnerable. We need a Labour Government.
here you can read about my campaign activities