John Healey has announced he is running for Labour’s new Deputy Leader.

The Wentworth & Dearne MP described himself as a ‘unifier’ and, as a Yorkshireman, promised to champion the north.

He said: “I had no intention of running for Deputy Leader, but I’ve been dismayed at how narrow and shallow Labour’s debate has been so far.

“Labour suffered a terrible defeat at the election and we’ve got to prove that we’re up to the job.

“We need grown-up opposition to the Tories on behalf of the 9.3million people who voted for us – and to show we’re a Government in-waiting to win over those who didn’t.

“I know as a campaigner for 30 years that change doesn’t come easily.

“But I’m optimistic about the future for Britain and Labour and I want to help lead that change as Labour’s Deputy Leader.”

His vision for Britain would mean:

• Leading as a force for good in the world within an outward-looking Europe and embracing our international obligations on military and aid spending, and climate change

• Investing to create good jobs and better productivity, with a modern industrial policy to bring on world-beating firms like in our car, biotech, aerospace and media industries

• Making a generational shift of power to the regions so we create and spread wealth fairly across our divided country

• Convincing parents that a Labour government will make sure their children can afford a decent home, by getting councils and private developers building again – as he did as Labour’s last Housing Minister

Mr Healey has been an MP for 18 years and has held a number of ministerial and shadow cabinet posts.

He is known as a strong campaigner and was voted constituency campaigner of the year 2014.

Sir Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley, said: “I’m supporting John’s bid to become the new deputy leader and agree with his comments about the content of the debate so far. I’m sure that John would make a brilliant Labour deputy leader.”

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said: “I’m happy to be able to nominate John Healey as deputy leader. As a fellow Rotherham MP, we have worked closely together in what have been some incredibly difficult times for the town.

“I know how hard he has worked for his constituents in Wentworth and Dearne since first being elected in 1997 and I have great respect for what he has achieved in that time.

“I’ve always found John to be dedicated, determined and committed to his values. These are all attributes we need in the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party.”