New Labour Party Leader

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30 Sep 2010

This week I have been in Manchester at the annual Labour Party Conference. The undoubted highlight of the Conference has been the election of Ed Miliband as the new Leader, the sixth I have served under since I was first elected to represent the Rother Valley in Parliament 27 years ago.

What makes it especially pleasing is that Ed is of course a South Yorkshire MP. First elected to represent Doncaster North in 2005, Ed is the youngest leader in Labour's history and his victory means that a new generation is now leading the party. It was right that we had a vigorous and closely fought leadership battle so that we could have a full and frank discussion about Labour's future and how we can offer the change the country needs.

I thought that Ed's speech on Tuesday showed his personal qualities and easy style, how people can relate to him and how he can inspire people, including those who aren't normally involved in politics. He was also brave enough to say what the Labour Government got right and what it got wrong. He also introduced both himself and his family to the nation, I thought it was a tremendous speech given that he only had 72 hours to prepare it. There is no doubt he has rapidly grown into this role of leader and potential Prime Minister.

Back in 1992 a certain young MP called Tony Blair came to Aston to give a speech at a fundraising event and two years later he became Labour leader. In 2008 Ed Miliband came to a similar event that was held at the Dinnington Resource Centre and again just two years on he is now leader. I hope that it won't be too long before Ed can follow in Tony Blair's footsteps into Number Ten Downing Street.