I WANT to start this week by expressing my own wishes for a swift recovery for the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and also to the thousands across the country who are also battling the virus. The virus we face is, essentially, still an unknown. But we do know the dedication, skills and talents of all those NHS professionals who are working around the clock to provide the highest quality care. In these times of tumult and fear, we draw strength from this.

However, I wish to turn from the subject of coronavirus – as much as it still dominates our thinking – to the results of the Labour leadership election. The candidates who put themselves forward – at both a Scottish and UK level – were a strong field to choose from. But I felt a sense of hope and optimism that I have not felt for a number of years following the announcement, and the appointment of senior positions.

By electing Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner so overwhelmingly, the Labour Party has set out a clear course to rebuild its credibility with the electorate. The 2019 General Election was a disaster for the Party that I love, and that has been responsible for the transformational changes that we still hold dear to this day. And I hope that the results from the last weekend demonstrate that the Labour Party is now listening.

The campaign ran by Starmer was one of the smoothest I have seen in a nationwide contest in many years – and the CV he presented, by far one of the most impressive. His work as a barrister and QC, and then as the director of public prosecutions, not only demonstrates his intelligence and his ability to get things done, but also how core the pursuit of justice, fairness and equality is to him.

There can be no doubt that Starmer is a credible and competent candidate for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He now leads a diverse and credible shadow cabinet along with the impressive Angela Rayner, representing the political and social diversity of our country.

But the task ahead of this new team, and the whole of the Labour Party, is not one of just changing the people at the top. It is now to make real on the promises of change, and to rebuild trust that our movement can deliver for the people we seek to represent.

And in that respect, I have been heartened by two developments. First, one of Starmer’s initial phone conversations was with Labour’s leader in the Local Government Association – demonstrating just how important local government is to the future of the Labour Party. And secondly, by the success of the meeting with representatives of the Jewish community, who went on to claim that Starmer has achieved more in four days than in the last four years.

The Labour Party has much work to do to win back trust to govern. But now I am confident that we have the team in place to do it.