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Mike's Ilford Recorder column (20/08/2015)

Parliament has been in recess for the last month. This has allowed me to attend many local meetings and events, and to continue to help constituents with housing and visit visas for relatives.

There has been a welcome increase in Labour Party membership since our very bad defeat in May - 610,000 ballot papers started to go out this week to choose our new leader and deputy leader. The result will be announced on Sept 12.

I am supporting Tessa Jowell as Labour candidate for London Mayor. I was delighted to welcome her to Barkingside last week. I nominated Liz Kendall for leader as the best candidate to get Labour back into government in 2020. I will give my second preference to Yvette Cooper and third to Andy Burnham.

A lurch to the left may appeal to some activists and to new £3 registered supporters. But I caution my party. I was the Labour candidate in Ilford North in 1983. We had crowds around our campaign street stalls and thousands came to Labour rallies. Yet we suffered a terrible defeat nationally and in both Ilford constituencies.

If Jeremy Corbyn wins he will do so on an anti-nuclear, anti-NATO, anti-American, anti-interventionist and Eurosceptic message. I have made clear my opposition to these views on my website.

I will continue to fight for the interests of my constituents against this cruel and divisive Conservative government, but I will not vote for policies which are against the interests of our country and are likely to result in an even worse defeat for Labour than we suffered in 1983.

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