Unions congratulate Starmer and Rayner
Unions have congratulated Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner as leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “I’m so pleased Keir has been elected. He now has a clear mandate to lead Labour at this difficult time for our country. The qualities Keir embodies – public service, respect and trust – are values UNISON shares, and they’ve never been more important.
“Keir has been the stand-out candidate in this race, the right person to lead Labour at this time of national crisis. UNISON will be right behind Keir as Labour works with government and holds ministers to account.
“I know he will ensure the voices and concerns of public service workers are at the heart of the national conversation, during the pandemic and as the country rebuilds afterwards. Now the entire Labour movement needs to come together, united behind our new leader.
“Angela Rayner’s rise to deputy leader is a tremendous moment for UNISON and the party. Angela is truly one of our own, a care worker who became a union rep and then an MP. I know she’ll excel in her new role as she has throughout her meteoric rise. I know too that Angela will never forget where she’s come from. She’s grounded by her deep roots in our movement and her community – and an inspiration to millions.”
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: ““We are delighted that our nominees Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have secured the confidence of party members and supporters. We backed Keir and Angela because they are the right leadership team to unite and rebuild Labour after a devastating election loss and, most importantly, secure the confidence of the country. Our members desperately need Labour in power, they cannot afford another decade of Conservative governments attacking workers’ rights, incomes and public services.
“We have every confidence that Keir will be a leader who can persuade voters that he has what it takes to be Prime Minister and Labour is a government in waiting. At this time of crisis we know he will be responsible and collaborative as Leader of the Opposition, but also offer constructive criticism to the government on behalf of working people who are struggling through the Coronavirus emergency.
“Whether you’re an essential worker on the frontline, like so many of our members in the food supply chain, or worried because you’re forced to carry on regardless in a non-essential business, or wondering how you’re going to make ends meet because your workplace has closed down, we know Keir Starmer will be standing up for your interests, your family and your community.”
ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “The result of the general election in December was a low point for the party but Keir and Angela understand what needs to be done to win back the hearts, the minds, and, yes, the votes of those who turned their backs on Labour.
“These are difficult times, but while we have all come together to work through this coronavirus crisis, with the fewest number of victims, it is vitally important that the government is held to account for the decisions it makes. Particularly when the number of people being tested for covid-19 is far lower than it should be, when it is clear that we were not properly prepared for this pandemic, and when those on the frontline in the NHS have to play catch-up every day without the proper equipment.
“I know that Keir, Angela, and Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth will hold the government’s toes to the fire to ensure the government makes the right decisions in the best interests of everyone in this country.
“After that, we look forward to helping Keir and Angela rebuild the party ready for the next election, in 2024, or whenever it comes, to return the Labour government this country so desperately needs.
“And we look forward to playing our part in preparing proposals, with Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald, not just for the railway, but for an integrated transport system in this country, and to help rebuild Britain’s battered economy.
“I am sure Keir will invite both Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy to play a big part in his new shadow cabinet. As they proved during the leadership debates, they both have a lot to offer the party, and the country. Together, and united, the future looks bright for the Labour Party.”
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Firstly, I thank my dear friend and comrade Jeremy Corbyn for the game changing work he has done as leader of our Party. Our union is proud that he propelled popular policies such as public ownership of our railways into the headlines and made them central to our Party’s political programme. Personally, I wish him all the very best for the future and I know that I will continue standing shoulder-to-shoulder with him in defence of working people for many years to come.
“I am absolutely delighted that the candidate that our union nominated, Keir Starmer, is now Labour’s new leader. Keir supports public ownership of our railways and supports the cause of transport workers. Our union worked very closely with Keir in his role as shadow Brexit Secretary and we have forged a good relationship that I know will continue in his new role.
“Keir now has a very big job in front of him, but I am sure he will excel in it. Our Party’s immediate priority is to hold this government to account as we fight the Coronavirus pandemic and the sharp economic downturn that it has created. I am sure Keir is more than capable of doing this. I look forward to working with him to achieve the Labour government working people so badly need at the earliest possible opportunity.
“I also congratulate Angela Rayner – also nominated by our union – who will make an excellent deputy leader. With her strong union background, we know that Angela will propel the needs of working people and support Keir in a progressive policy agenda for our party.”
GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “Huge congratulations to Keir and Angela, they’re going to make a fantastic team. It’s time to start a new chapter, we need to leave behind the infighting and navel gazing and get on with being a government in waiting.
“We’re in very uncertain times right now, and that calls for bold and strong leadership. Labour and the union movement must work with government to get us through the coronavirus crisis, but every government must be held to account – there are many areas where the response has been lacking and where the future remains uncertain.
“GMB union will be full square behind Keir and Angela in the weeks, months and years ahead.”
Community general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “When Community nominated Keir and Angela, we did so because we thought they were best-placed to unite a fractured movement and begin rebuilding the Labour Party as a party of government.
“Today’s result provides them with the opportunity to start that journey. The Party can now come together and create a vision for the future of Britain that connects with voters.
“But today’s result also comes at a time of significant crisis, when the Leader of the Opposition has a vital role to play in the national interest. We are confident that Keir Starmer has the experience and character to fulfil that position.
“Angela Rayner has demonstrated throughout the campaign that she is a passionate and articulate advocate for the concerns of working people and her voice will be vital as millions of workers across the UK play their part in the national effort through this crisis.”
“But as we look further forward we must turn to the task of recovery for the Labour Party. With Keir and Angela leading us, Labour has the opportunity to create an ambitious vision for a modern Britain, rooted in our values of fairness and equality, and where credible policies give hope to millions of working people, including our members across the country.”
“We also want to pay tribute to the other candidates in both contests for their contributions and the spirit in which it was conducted and who also have the opportunity to now play a role in bringing Labour back to power.”