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.