Labour MP Jamie Reed has told BuzzFeed News that he will run for the leadership of the Labour party if no other candidate comes forward who represents the "marginalised, peripheral communities of our country".
Reed, the MP for Copeland in Cumbria, insisted that the next Labour leader must do more to reach constituencies outside of London and reconnect with ordinary people beyond the party's traditional support base.
The MP, who served as a shadow health minister under Ed Miliband, said colleagues have approached him to run in the election following his party's "catastrophic defeat" in the election.
"Principally, our approach to peripheral areas and non-metropolitan communities has to be fundamentally reassessed, as does our approach to England," he said. "London is not England and the next Labour leader needs to listen to the marginalised, peripheral communities of our country as the United Kingdom 'balkanises' in front of us."
Reed said he does not currently intend to stand, but he wants to change how the party pitches itself to voters outside its core support in major cities. Last week's election saw UKIP establish itself as the main challenger to Labour in many northern constituencies as many working-class voters switched to Nigel Farage's party.
However, he said he will look to enter the leadership race if "no candidate gives these issues the attention they deserve".
Read Reed's full statement below:
As the MP for England's most remotely accessible constituency from Westminster, I know more than most the serious lessons Labour must learn from this catastrophic defeat.
Principally, our approach to peripheral areas and non-metropolitan communities has to be fundamentally reassessed, as does our approach to England. London is not England and the next Labour leader needs to listen to the marginalised, peripheral communities of our country as the United Kingdom 'balkanises' in front of us.
A successful Labour Party must always seek to reach beyond special interests and the Labour base. I'm surprised and flattered to have received approaches from colleagues with regard to entering this contest. There should be no rush to elect a new leader and I will set out those areas I believe the party needs to address as part of its central mission in the following days and weeks.
At this moment, I have no intention of standing for the leadership, but these issues are so critical to the future of our county and our party that should no candidate give these issues the attention they deserve, then I will consider entering the contest to ensure that these voices are heard.
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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