Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament for Camberwell and Peckham. Mother of the House of Commons.

Harriet publishes statement on Compass website


The Compass Deputy Leadership debate was launched with statements from Harriet and other candidates. Compass aims to find out what supporters want to see from the next Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.  For the next 2 weeks there will be an opportunity to debate the issues online.  Will candidates respond to the issues that arise from comments online from Compass members?  For Harriet the answer was clearly ‘yes’ and within minutes she was online arguing for open and constructive discussion.

Harriet’s statement focussed on how she wants to work with Gordon Brown to win a fourth term for Labour and the need for the campaign to be about people’s real lives. 

Harriet’s priorities are to tackle the gap between rich and poor and help families live the lives they want.  She wants to put the family at the heart of Government thinking and make policies that reflect modern life.  And she wants more young people in the Party to build for the future.

Appropriately given the online debate she had just joined – Harriet is urging the Party to create sound policy by really listening to its members something she has been doing since the launch of her campaign website. 

Harriet is not afraid of real discussion and says that people should be able to say things that provoke. 

Take a look at some of the contributions to the “real discussion” posted since the debate was launched.


I’d like the support of Compass for Deputy Leader because like all Labour Party members Compass wants to see a fourth term Labour Government. To do this, the Party must demonstrate that we represent all of Britain, so it must be a woman deputy in the leadership team with Gordon Brown.

We need to show our commitment to equality with policies on women and the family that reflect modern life. By promoting women’s genuine equality and putting the family at the heart of Government thinking, we will move the locus of political debate on to the things that really matter; tackling the gap between rich and poor and working towards genuine equality of opportunity, helping families live the lives they want.

This campaign must be about people’s real lives. This is how to win the historic fourth term for Labour.

To renew the Party and the government we have to rebuild the trust and confidence of the Party and the public. The key is always local activity, and active local parties. I am proud that Camberwell and Peckham has increased membership to around 800, and crucially that it reflects the community. We are constantly out on the doorstep, listening to people and recruiting new members.

We need more young people in the Party. So all new young members of Trade Unions should get a year’s free Party membership, - reaching out to young people at work as well as at university. We should set ambitious targets for more young candidates in local elections alongside a mentoring system to provide the future leadership locally and nationally.

To really listen we need to be less guarded. The best policy is created when the party listens to its members. That is how we build a consensus around what we are doing rather than allowing comment as an after thought.

We cannot have one-way traffic between the Party organisation and its members. People must be allowed to say things that provoke, so that what we say is authentic and comes from real discussion. For example, we need to engage in debate amongst members about the future for our Foreign Policy.

Some say that winning is not enough in itself to bring the progressive policies we want. But the fact remains that out of government we can do nothing for hard-pressed communities like those in my constituency of Camberwell and Peckham. I’m standing for the post of deputy because I want to help Gordon Brown win a fourth term for Labour, so that we can not only debate our policies, but put them into action.

Compass members know that this takes hard work persistence and commitment as well as good ideas. Just as I helped Labour develop new ideas and battle out of opposition, I’m now helping candidates in council, Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly elections. I’ll carry on doing that whether or not I’m deputy – I always have and I always will.



Comments posted online in the Compass debate ranged from supportive to challenging…and Harriet soon weighed in when she thought the debate was not focussing on the issues…


Posted by Gunnar B (Cambridgeshire) on 02 February 2007, 1:30:14 AM
I favour Harriet Harman. She strikes me as highly intelligent, independent-minded, and evidently has gathered much political experience. She shows good judgment and represents a heart of sarf London constituency with a rich mix of ordinary people going about their daily work and business, and where she has a very secure majority.


Posted by Dane Clouston (Oxford) on 30 January 2007, 2:46:41 PM
It is good that Harriet Harman mentions equality, the gap between rich and poor and greater equality of opportunity.

Otherwise there seems to be too much sniping from posters about irrelevant and temporary participation issues rather than discussion of policy. Will any candidate mention the redistribution of inherited wealth in each new generation in order to bring about greater equality of opportunity, less alienation, less financial and social exclusion, less poverty, less welfare state income needism, more entrepreneurial activity, more home ownership and a greater sense of British national community and identity?


Posted by Nicole (Brighton) on 30 January 2007, 3:02:13 PM
Harriet has my vote!
She is clear in her aims and in her desire for Labour to pull together as a party.
She is engaging in a full and open debate and would be a strong deputy leader.


Posted by harriet (London) on 30 January 2007, 12:09:08 PM
Good to see your comment, Peter from Sheffield. You're clear in your choice, but don't seek to put down the other candidates. The truth is that all the people declared for the deputy election are people I regard as hard-working colleagues who have battled over the years for progress. The challenge is to make sure that we have a clear and incisive debate without needing to knock lumps out of each other. I'm all for mortal combat when it’s against the Tories and Lib/Dems but not when it’s against fellow Labour people. Let's hope that the Compass debate and the tone set by Peter can see the deputy election showing what we each, differently, have to offer, but show us still as a good team. i'm sure that's what the party wants - and certainly what i want. And peter, can i count on your second preference?


Posted by Grassroots Gal (London) on 30 January 2007, 1:16:16 PM
Ha Ha Ha I can't believe Harriet posted a comment! Good on you Harriet LOL.

Pretty impressed that her CLP has 800 members, its important that politicians 'walk the walk' in addition to the plentiful 'talking the talk' that goes on! Mind you I was always gonna support Harriet anyway to be honest as I can't vote for an all male leadership team.



Posted by Emily (london) on 30 January 2007, 1:44:15 PM
…harman actually reading our comments! cruddas has got some good stuff, and seems obvious, but i'm not discounting harman yet - storming performance at the independent fringe at conference-no government patsy then! and not what I expected.





Posted by Anthony Perry (London, Hackney) on 30 January 2007, 3:35:35 PM
Harriet Harman. She is practical and pretty straightforward and cares about the things I have cared about since joining the party in 1950.


Posted by Nick (London) on 31 January 2007, 9:36:50 AM
…This is why I am plumping for Harriet - she shares Jon Cruddas' enthusiasm for debate, loves the Party and has done well as a Minister since she came back to Government. Being a woman is a massive plus with a new male leader too. I want a Deputy Leader who has a real job to do rather than someone who will aggregate dissent, and that’s why it’s Harriet for me.

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