Sunday 29 April 2007

YouGov poll puts me in 2nd place behind Brown

I was pleased to see that a YouGov poll of Labour party members published today in The Sunday Times placed me in second place behind Gordon Brown in the upcoming leadership election. Before I'm accused of spinning, here are the figures: Gordon Brown - 80%; John McDonnell - 9%; Michael Meacher - 6%; and Charles Clarke - 5%.

However, bear in mind that this result has been achieved despite the fact that, unlike the other candidates, I was a virtually unknown backbencher when I launched - and despite the fact that this campaign has received very little media coverage. I strongly believe that the reason I've been placed second at this stage is because of the hard work everyone has put into building a real grassroots campaign. I've always made it clear that this campaign was about engaging with Labour party members, supporters and trade unionists - in contrast with the usual approach, which is to confine the campaign to the Westminster Bubble with no consultation with grassroots activists. I think that it is a real achievement to be ahead of two former ministers and second place behind Brown at this stage in the campaign.

This poll shows what could be achieved during the main campaign. The media will have no choice but to start giving us coverage. Labour party members and trade unionists will finally be given the opportunity to hear exactly where I'm coming from. I will be given a platform to advocate Real Labour policies which are supported by the mainstream of our party and millions of ordinary people - whether that be direct investment in council housing, an end to the war in Iraq, publicly owned public services, a green energy policy based on renewable power sources, the restoration of trade union rights and civil liberties, a Real Living Wage of at least £7 an hour, renationalisation of our railways, an all-out war against inequality and child poverty, the restoration of free university education, support for universal comprehensive education, or the immediate restoration of the pensions-earnings link.

The main campaign will put us in a position to advocate socialism that is relevant to the 21st century, put the Left back on the map and reconnect the Labour party with its members and supporters.