This week, Yvette Cooper MP and her supporters gathered in North London as the Labour leadership election enters its final phrase.
MPs, volunteers and non-party members were among guests attending the fundraising dinner hosted by SME4Labour, a new group within the Labour Party promoting small and medium sized businesses within the Party.
Rallying her supporters as the three-month-long campaign approaches an end, Yvette Cooper insisted that ‘there is still everything to play for,’ as many Labour members have yet to vote. Yvette said she remains optimistic, and will continue to set out her ‘sensible’ and ‘radical’ alternative for the Labour Party.
The Shadow Home Secretary also responded to the exacerbating refugee crisis across Europe, criticising the Prime Minister for inaction, and called for Britain to work with other European countries to take a ‘fair share’ of the refugees.
Shadow Secretary for Defence and Chair of Yvette’s campaign, Vernon Coaker, was among the 800-strong audience. Shadow ministers Chris Bryant, Liam Byrne, Seema Malhorta were also present at the event.
Introducing SME4Labour, co-founder Ibrahim Dogus, told the audience that Labour needs to connect with working people, including SMEs, for ‘the Labour Party is the party of workers, people who get up early and do a hard day’s work, people who know that businesses thrive in a strong society and the heart of every community.’
Sonny Leong CBE, also a co-founder at SME4Labour, said Labour needs ‘a leader who understands small business owners’ in order to win again. ‘We cannot win in 2020 if we continue to offer nothing, and that is where SME4Labour comes in – we want to provide a forum whereby SME4Labour can work in partnership with the Labour Party.’
Nick Garland, student and volunteer for the Cooper campaign, believes Yvette has proved her leadership credentials in this election. ‘Yvette has really grown into the role of prospective leader. She is showing real passion and humour, strength and intelligence. This was all on display when she spoke tonight. Everyone’s leaving here feeling energised.’
Since Labour’s defeat in the General Election in May, the Party has restlessly debated its future. Andy Burnham, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall are the other three candidates contesting with Cooper to succeed Ed Miliband as Labour leader.
This election is operating with the new ‘One Person One Vote’ system introduced by Ed Miliband and approved overwhelmingly by the Party in 2014. Ed was elected under the old system, in which trade unions enjoyed the privilege of bloc votes, with some MPs’ vote carrying more than double the weight of other members.