The leaders of 23 Labour councils have today backed Caroline Flint to be Labour's next Deputy Leader.
Ms Flint, who worked in local government before being elected to Parliament and served as Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has won the backing of Labour council leaders across the country, including the leaders of some of Labour's flagship councils in London, the North West, the North East and Yorkshire and Humber.
In a statement endorsing Caroline Flint, the leaders praised Caroline Flint's commitment to local government and urged councillors, members and supporters to back her:
"The next Deputy Leader has a vital role to play as a bridge between Labour in local government and our national leadership. There is no one better qualified or more able to do that job than Caroline Flint.
“As a minister she had a strong track record of working in partnership with local government to tackle drugs and anti-social behaviour, introduce the smoke-free legislation and deliver affordable housing. In Opposition she has continued that work, with radical ideas to create a more decentralised and democratic energy market.
“The 2015 election was a terrible blow for our party. As with previous defeats, the work of Labour's councillors will be fundamental to our recovery, especially in areas without a Labour MP. In Caroline Flint we have a candidate who will learn from what works from good Labour councils, who so often have been the source of the big ideas that have inspired Labour governments.
"We urge Labour Party councillors, members and supporters to unite behind Caroline Flint to elect her as Labour's next Deputy Leader."
Welcoming the endorsement, Caroline Flint said:
"I'm delighted to have the backing of so many of Labour's outstanding leaders in local government.
"I want councillors, including town and parish councillors, to have a greater voice in party structures, to take the reins of devolved power, and to be the pioneers of new policy.
“We need to put the promise on our membership card – power in the hands of the many, not the few – into practice, with a new settlement for local government and if elected as Deputy Leader that's exactly what I'll do.”
Notes to editors:
1. The following Labour council leaders have today endorsed Caroline Flint to be Labour's next Deputy Leader:
Darren Rodwell (Barking and Dagenham)
Muhammed Butt (Brent)
Tony Newman (Croydon)
Doug Taylor (Enfield)
Claire Kober (Haringey)
Stephen Alambritis (Merton)
Peter John (Southwark)
Robin Wales (Newham)
Steve Bullock (Lewisham)
Chris Robbins (Waltham Forest)
Denise Hyland (Greenwich)
Nick Forbes (Newcastle)
Norma Redfearn (North Tyneside)
Iain Malcolm (South Tyneside)
Paul Watson (Sunderland)
Michael Connolly (Bury)
Richard Leese (Manchester)
Julie Dore (Sunderland)
Ros Jones (Doncaster)
Peter Box (Wakefield)
Steve Brady (Hull)
Kieran Quinn (Tameside)
Sarah Hayward (Camden)
2. A poll of Conservative councillors by the Labour History Research Unit at Anglia Ruskin also showed that Caroline Flint is the most feared candidate by Conservative councillors. 36 per cent believe that Flint is the candidate they should "most fear", compared with 22 per cent for Ben Bradshaw, 20 per cent for Tom Watson, and 12 per cent for Stella Creasy.
New Statesman, 1 July 2015