MP John Healey said Labour must prove it is ‘up to the job’ of running the country after he put his name forward to be the party’s new deputy leader.
Mr Healey – who represents Wentworth and Dearne and is a former housing minister – is the second South Yorkshire politician to stand for the new deputy’s role, with Don Valley MP Caroline Flint also in the running.
He said he had not originally intended to stand but had been ‘dismayed at how narrow and shallow the debate has been so far’ after Labour’s heavy defeat.
Mr Healey, who said party colleagues had encouraged him to go for it, added: “Labour suffered a terrible defeat at the election.
“Bluntly, the public said we weren’t up to the job. We’ve now got to prove that we are - that’s why I’ve decided to run for Labour’s new deputy leader.
“We need grown-up opposition to the Tories on behalf of the 9.3 million people who voted for us – and to show we’re a Government in-waiting to win over those who didn’t.”
Mr Healey was elected in 1997 and held his Wentworth and Dearne seat with a 13,800 majority at the general election earlier this month.
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband, who also represented a South Yorkshire constituency in Doncaster North, stood down from the position after the Conservatives won an overall majority.
Mr Healey said the party now needed to offer a ‘vision for Britain’. He added: “I have high hopes for Britain and Labour which I want others to share, and as Labour’s deputy leader I want to help lead that change.”
Labour’s new leader and deputy will be announced in September. Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron and Rotherham MP Sarah Champion are backing Mr Healey.