FORMBY MP Bill Esterson has welcomed new Labour leader Keir Starmer, saying he is the ‘right person to lead the party and challenge the government through the coronavirus crisis.’
The Sefton Central MP has also sent ‘Get well’ wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds, after the PM was admitted to hospital with the virus.
Mr Esterson had backed the front-runner Starmer, who won the Labour leadership contest on Saturday with 56.2% of first-round votes. Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy received 27% and 16% of the votes respectively after running ‘positive’ campaigns, said the MP.
He said: “I backed Keir Starmer for leader so was obviously delighted to see him announced as winner after a long process.
“It is now time for the party to come together to provide the opposition this country needs in this time of great challenge. Keir is the right person at this time to effectively support – but also challenge where needed – the Government as we all play our part in tackling the current health crisis.
“Keir’s message of unity won over members up and down the country - we need to ensure that we model that through the whole of the Labour Party now.
“It is clear that Labour comes out of this contest stronger, with Rebecca and Lisa running really positive campaigns.
“The election result in December was devastating for Labour and we cannot repeat it. That’s why Keir’s campaign was all about focusing the party on winning elections. Only then can we change people’s lives.
“We need to restore people’s trust in the Labour Party as a force for good - a crucial part of that is tackling antisemitism.
“Nobody could have predicted ending in these circumstances - and regardless of the result, our thoughts are with all those affected by coronavirus, and our brilliant NHS. The Labour Party’s number one priority right now is working with the Government to help the country get through this.”
Following the new leader’s appearance on The Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Mr Esterson tweeted: “Fantastic interview by the Leader of @UKLabour @Keir_Starmer on @AndrewMarr9 A clear plan, calm, reassuring and constructive on #COVID19 without point scoring. 10 out of 10!”
After reports of the Prime Minister being admitted to hospital with coronavirus on Sunday, and his pregnant partner Carrie Symonds suffering symptoms, the MP tweeted: “Get well soon @BorisJohnson and Carrie Symonds. The fact the Prime Minister and his partner are this ill is a reminder of just how dangerous this virus is. Please everyone take this seriously.”