I sent the following to Labour members in Huddersfield explaining why this vote on leadership is so important.
As our local party has decided not to nominate a candidate, I felt I should write as your elected Member of Parliament to communicate my views on the leadership election.
All my political career I have devoted my energy and activity to supporting a Labour Party that fights for working people and our country, campaigns against privilege and unaccountable power, and for a more just, socially mobile and equal society.
To achieve these goals I have understood that the Labour Party must have a set of policies that are attractive not just to active Labour Party members but to traditional Labour voters, those who have not voted in the past and those who have voted for other parties.
Harold Wilson who won four General Elections believed “the Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing” but he managed to convince a broad electorate to join us in our campaign.
Loyalty for me has been at the core of my political life – each time I have been nominated to fight a parliamentary election I have proudly stood on the manifesto decided by our party and have supported the Labour whip in Westminster.
Over the years I have come to know Jeremy Corbyn well but he has never shared my views on loyalty to the party and he has a reputation for having a very different attitude to party solidarity.
As soon as Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader, although I had misgivings I decided and informed you that I would give him a fair chance to prove his ability to unite the party and organise a coherent and credible reputation as a Prime Minister in waiting. Unfortunately Jeremy has been unsuccessful in this regard and the party is struggling to convince potential voters of his ability to lead our country.
As we approached the European Referendum I begged him to lead the Labour Remain campaign with passion and commitment but he failed abysmally to show real leadership. As I campaigned in Huddersfield at door after door traditional Labour voters told me they would not vote Labour while Jeremy was our leader.
Having seen Jeremy operate at close quarters I am convinced he does not have the ability to lead the Party, indeed I fear an electoral disaster at the next election. Locally I think we could be in danger of losing all three Labour seats in Kirklees, as well as dozens up and down the country.
In all my political career the idea of a Labour Party wiped out in our traditional areas has been an unthinkable prospect which now looks very real. I will be voting for Owen Smith and hope you will be able to join me.