It is with very great sadness that I am announcing today my resignation as leader of the Labour party. After the deeply disappointing results of the European elections, and the equally disappointing results in Scotland three years ago and in recent by-elections, it has become clear that our party needs a new leader to take us into the general election next year, a new leader better able than I have been to reach out to the voters who are still not convinced that Labour offers them a better future.
When you elected me in 2015, we shared a passionate conviction that together we could achieve something of real importance: the building of a new, fairer Britain, offering a decent life to all our citizens, built on social justice and a strong economy. We knew it would not be easy, and it hasn't been. But we have achieved much over the past four years: we have reignited the debate over fairness and equality and we have opposed the Tories whenever and wherever they have acted to damage the interests of the least advantaged in our society.
This great party of ours is nothing if it is not a party of principle, and I am proud that we have rebuilt a party of which our founders would be proud. We have been proud to be socialists, and proud to be internationalists. I shall never renounce my principles, and I know you won't either. We shall continue to fight, together, to build the Britain we want and which our people deserve.
The past four years have taught us a lot about our party and about the people who joined us and registered as supporters in 2015. But we have also learned that unfortunately too many of my colleagues in the parliamentary party are still out of touch with what is happening outside the Westminster village, and they have forgotten the principles on which this party was built.
I wish I could have persuaded more of them to follow my lead in promoting policies that we know would offer our people a better life; instead, too many of them chose to remain wedded to the policies of the past, the policies that lost us elections in 2010 and 2015, and which, if we're not careful, will lose us the next election as well. They will not be forgiven for the damage they have caused this party, nor for the way they have betrayed the people who elected them.
We face a formidable enemy, a Conservative party still convinced that it has a God-given right to rule, with a new leader, George Osborne, who represents everything we have fought against over the past nine years. We cannot allow him to remain in office a day longer than necessary. We also face, as we always have, a disgracefully dishonest press, owned by billionaire tycoons who will lie day after day, week after week, year after year, to try to prevent us returning to office.
They have lied about me and they have lied about our party. And after the next election, when we have been returned to office, let there be no doubt that we shall legislate to put an end to the media monopolies, to ensure that never again will the Labour party be traduced as it has been over the past four years.
Comrades, friends, we are hugely fortunate to have a deputy leader, Tom Watson, who I know will make a first-rate leader and take us to victory next year. I urge you to elect him as our next party leader, and I pledge my unstinting support to him as he fights to deliver what we all want: a fairer, decent Britain that we can all be proud of.
I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. Let us now redouble our efforts, true to our principles and with unshakeable faith in our ideals, to win the victory that we know this country deserves.