Lynda Waltho: Brown must stay

If we hold our nerve, we can turn it round

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When I was talking to residents in Stourbridge last week it was clear how angry people are about the expenses system and it's no surprise that Labour, with more MPs, is bearing the brunt.

But the next election will be about two things: the economy and who has the answers to the big questions facing the country. Gordon's got the right values and experience to lead this country and he's a man of complete integrity.

Does anyone seriously think any other politician in Britain could have provided the international leadership Gordon showed over the past six months in dealing with the global downturn?

Even Gordon's harshest critics do not believe any other politician would have been able to build the international coalition needed to prevent a global recession becoming a global depression.

The election will come down to a choice between Labour, led by Gordon Brown, increasing spending to get the economy moving and save jobs and David Cameron's plans to cut spending and make the recession deeper and longer.

And no one is better qualified to show how we can personalise public services, drive up skills, build a more sustainable, greener economy and demonstrate that Labour has the answers to the big questions facing the future of the country.

The latest election results were terrible for Labour. That can't be a surprise given the expenses scandal and the recession. What was a surprise was David Cameron's failure to beat Michael Howard's performance in 2004. Those results were terrible for Labour too, but we came back to win 12 months later – even in marginal seats like mine – and if we hold our nerve and demonstrate the unity, discipline and determination to campaign against the Tories instead of each other, we can turn it round.

The alternative – changing our leader again – would result in irresistible pressure for an immediate election, when what we ought to be doing is cleaning up the political system, getting the country through the recession and talking to the public. If we do all that we'll provide the springboard we need for the next election campaign.

Lynda Waltho is Labour MP for Stourbridge

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