DAVE Watts MP has been elected the “shop steward” for the Labour party’s Westminster backbenchers.
The MP for St Helens North told of his delight after winning the race to become chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, defeating colleague John Cryer MP by 138 votes to 88.
Following in the footsteps of the likes of Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson, Mr Watts will now report to the Shadow Cabinet on behalf of the party’s rank-and-file MPs.
He will also chair weekly parliamentary meetings and meetings of the Parliamentary Committee - made up of the Labour leader, chief whip and lay members of Parliament.
Mr Watts said: “It’s a great honour to be elected by Labour MPs and to hold an office that has in the past been held by people such as Harold Wilson and Clement Attlee is amazing - they are my heroes.
“It will be my job to represent the views of backbench Labour MPs and, if they’ve got strong views on an issue, to ensure the Shadow Cabinet understands it.”
Mr Watts, 60, a former leader of St Helens Council and an MP since 1997, added: “This has come quite late in my political life but I will give it my best shot and do the best job I possibly can.
“I’m looking forward to working with the Shadow Cabinet and the National Executive members to ensure a Labour victory in the forthcoming election.”