Strictly Come Dancing way to find next Labour leader | Letters

John Harrison suggests how to pick the next opposition leader, and Paul Curzon outlines the attributes that person needs to possess

You report that many Labour candidates attribute losing to their leader’s unpopularity (Five reasons why Labour lost, 14 December). He was not supported originally by MPs. He was chosen by activists, generally of a different generation to him, who would not have to work with him.

Under a sensible system, the MPs would choose and rank a shortlist which members could then similarly rank. The experts – let’s say the shadow cabinet – could then have the final say as between the top two from the aggregated rankings. This would reflect the views of the broad membership but allow the experts – who would have to work with the leader – the final say. Most of the time this approach produces the right result on Strictly Come Dancing.

Of those potential successors on your shortlist (14 December), Keir Starmer is the best qualified. A female leader is long overdue, but surely Labour is mature enough for a gender-neutral approach. Isn’t it?
John Harrison
Guildford, Surrey

• As someone born in Aston, Birmingham, just after the war, I have a message for the Labour party, which I have supported all my life. Stop feeling sorry for yourselves. Do what working-class people have always had to do – take the knocks and get on with life. Elect a leader who speaks from the heart and has some real knowledge of what it is like to struggle to pay bills.

That person needs to be someone who says what she thinks and is not afraid to upset friends and opponents when speaking the truth. Someone with charisma. Forget turning to more metropolitan lawyers and special advisers or characters with outdated, far-left views. The leader will need to connect with people who know they have been forgotten for years, and being mealy-mouthed will not cut it. Look no further than Jess Phillips.
Paul Curzon
Somerton, Somerset

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