Mon. Mar 30th, 2020

Wolves of Westminster

UK Political News and Opinion

The challenge facing Rebecca Long-Bailey in the Labour leadership contest – Chris Bradford

2 min read
20 January 2020 | ANALYSIS

The MP for Salford and Eccles faces a challenge if she wants to be Labour’s first female leader. Research from the Party Members Project has concluded that Starmer’s biggest qualities include his ability to appeal to the average voter; he is considered to be a strong leader and is most likely to unite the party and the country. This is not to mention that, in a YouGov poll from New Years’ Day which suggested that in a run-off between Starmer and Long-Bailey, Sir Keir would come out on top with 61% of the vote.

Lisa Nandy has already received the backing of the National Union of Mineworkers last week. The union has only 300 members, but has a nostalgic role within Labour’s foundations as a party. As such, Nandy only needs to win the backing of one more union and an affiliated organisation in order to get onto the ballot paper.

Both Nandy and Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips have slammed the Labour leadership already. Phillips is a staunch unionist and claimed that John McDonnell’s comments in Edinburgh last summer ‘harmed’ Scottish Labour, when the Shadow Chancellor said he would not block a second independence referendum. Meanwhile, Nandy had accused Corbyn of ‘siding with Russia‘ following the Salisbury Novichok attack.

22 endorsements from MPs and MEPs were needed by 2:30pm last Monday in order to progress to this round of the contest. Emily Thornberry scraped past the required threshold with 23 nominations. Her tweet from Rochester in 2014 looks set to haunt her during the campaign, as she faced scrutiny from Andrew Marr last weekend. The battle she faces will be in attempting to deflect attention away from her past and convince unions and supporters that she is not part of the so-called ‘metropolitan Labour Party’.

In order to progress to the ballot, the candidates need to gain the support of 5% of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) along with three trade unions or affiliated organisations. Momentum has now backed Rebecca Long-Bailey; Keir Starmer has the support of UNISON – the largest trade union – and Lisa Nandy has the aforementioned NUM. The GMB has yet to decide who to endorse, but it is unlikely they will nominate Long-Bailey, especially as they endorsed Owen Smith, Jeremy Corbyn’s opponent in 2016.

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