At this meeting of elected lay members of UNISON Labour Link and after a discussion of the disastrous general election result, all of us present unanimously endorsed Keir Starmer as the Leader of the Labour Party and Angela Rayner as the Deputy Leader.
We all wanted a Labour leadership team that would unite the Party, campaign against and hold to account this Tory Government then win a future general election for Labour.
I left the meeting early so we I could go to the nearby UNISON headquarters to take part in an special meeting of our National Labour Link Committee on the general election result and the Labour leadership.
This Committee is comprised of elected lay UNISON members from all over the country. After reports on the result by our union officers and then a long, at times very depressive (but strangely constructive) discussion on the General election result and lessons learnt, we began a debate on the leadership elections.
Members of the committee gave their thoughts on all the candidates and what feedback they had received on who should be the future leader and deputy.
I am really pleased that after a vote by secret ballot Keir was overwhelming backed as Leader by the committee as was Angela for Deputy.
While the debate was at times passionate with strong views expressed, we were on the whole, polite, reasoned and respectful at all times. There was even humour, self depredation and graciousness. This was UNISON at its best.
I was also so proud of Angela, who I have known as an UNISON activist for many years also her husband Mark and their lovely children. While there is no doubt she has risen to her current position on her own merits, she freely acknowledges that it was UNISON that helped her grow and supported her from social care worker to union rep to MP to shadow secretary of state to...lets see.