Five Labour MPs will fight it out to replace Jeremy Corbyn after Emily Thornberry won last-gasp backing from party politicians to get through to the second round of the leadership campaign with just minutes to spare today.
The shadow foreign secretary received a late surge of nominations to make the 22-name cut for the second round before the deadline at 2.30pm this afternoon, after it had looked like she might crash out.
Clive Lewis quit the race this afternoon after failing to convince more than a handful of his fellow MPs to back his tilt at the top job following Mr Corbyn’s decision to step down.
The Norwich South MP dropped out saying he was ‘standing aside in the spirit of pluralism, diversity and generosity’ so ‘those who have supported me can recast their nominations’.
Keir Starmer will go into the second stage of the Labour leadership battle as favourite after scoring backing from dozens of fellow MPs.
According to the latest tally, shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir has racked up 89, far ahead of Ms Long-Bailey on 33, Ms Nandy on 31 and Ms Thornberry on 23.
The five MPs who made the cut now have to convince trade unions and local party branches to lend them support before the new leader is announced on April 4 after a ballot of members.
Sir Keir said was pleased to have made it through a ‘good-natured and respectful start to the debate about the future of Labour Party’.
‘Over the coming weeks, I’m looking forward to travelling across the country to listen to members and activists about how together we can restore people’s trust in Labour as a force for good,’ he said.
Ms Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, received a late surge of nominations to make the 22-name cut before the deadline at 2.30pm, when it looked like she might crash out
The Norwich South MP quit ahead of this afternoon’s deadline to reach 22 nominations, saying he was ‘standing aside in the spirit of pluralism, diversity and generosity’
Five contenders – Sir Keir, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry – got numbers they require to go through. But Clive Lewis quit after getting just five
Ms Thornberry later said: ‘Thanks to my colleagues for their nominations.
‘It’s wonderful to have four strong women going through to the next stage.
Labour must build ‘red bridge’ between wings of party says Nandy
Labour leadership hopeful Lisa Nandy has said a ‘red bridge’ uniting support across different wings and regions must be built to prevent the party’s demise, as she launched her campaign to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
The backbench MP outlined her vision to convince voters across the nation that they are fighting the same battle, during a speech in Brexit-backing Dagenham, east London, moments after nominations closed to push her into the next round.
She stressed on Monday that Labour cannot ‘steady the ship or play it safe’ in recovering from the worst general election result since 1935, or the party ‘will die and we will deserve to’.
Ms Nandy, who is through to the next round of the leadership battle, referenced the so-called red wall of former Labour strongholds across the Midlands and the North as she stressed a need to speak to broad swathes of the nation.
‘The stark truth is, the path back to power for Labour will never be built along the red wall,’ she said.
‘The path back to power for the Labour Party will be built right across that red bridge that stretches from our major metropolitan cities, through our suburbs and into our smaller towns and villages as well.’
‘I believe we’ll all contribute to an excellent debate so our members can choose who can best take Labour back into power.’
In the race for deputy leader, which is running in parallel, all five candidates – shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, Ian Murray, Rosena Allin Khan, Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon made the cut.
Those who qualify in the two contests then need to get the nominations of 33 local constituency parties or three Labour affiliates – including at least two trade unions – to enter the final postal ballot of party members and registered supporters.
Ms Long-Bailey tried to cement her left-wing credentials yesterday by insisting she would abolish the House of Lords if she became PM.
She was also boosted over the weekend when left-wing activist group Momentum, which helped propel Mr Corbyn to the leadership in 2015, said it was recommending support for her and Ms Rayner.
It will now ask its members whether they agree with the recommendations, with ballots – consisting of just two questions – to be sent out this next week.
The group’s backing for Ms Long-Bailey is unsurprising given that she has long been the favoured candidate of the left to take on Mr Corbyn’s mantle.
However, many Corbyn-supporting MPs are backing Mr Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, for deputy rather than Ms Rayner, and Momentum’s support will be a significant boost for her campaign.
Rebecca Long-Bailey tried to cement her left-wing credentials yesterday (pictured) by insisting she would abolish the House of Lords if she became PM
In the race for deputy leader, which is running in parallel, all five remaining candidates got through
Although she already has the support of her close friend Ms Long-Bailey, Ms Rayner is distrusted by some on the left after backing Andy Burnham for leader in 2015 rather than Mr Corbyn.
How does the Labour leadership election work?
Under the terms of the contest, candidates need to secure the nominations of least 10 per cent of the party’s MPs and MEPs – which is now 22 after the general and European election defeats last year.
Those who succeed will then go forward to the second stage when they must win the nominations of five per cent of the almost 300 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) OR three Labour affiliates – of which at least two must be trade unions – comprising at least five per cent of the fully paid-up affiliate membership.
Applications to become a registered supporter open at 5pm on January 14 and close at 5pm on January 16.
The freeze date for new members to join and be eligible to vote will be January 20 in the postal ballot.
Under the timetable set out by the NEC, nominations from MPs and MEPs will open on January 7, closing at 2.30pm on January 13.
The second stage of nominations from constituency parties and affiliates then opens on January 15 and runs to February 14.
The ballot of members and registered supporters opens the following week on February 21, closing at noon on Thursday April 2.
A special conference will be held two days later to unveil the new party leader.
Reports have suggested some around the Labour leader believe she was responsible for trying to undermine him.
It came as candidates today criticised the party’s decision to ignore parts of the so-called ‘red wall’ for its hustings.
Frontrunner Sir Keir said he was ‘disappointed’ debates would not be held in the South East, east of England or Yorkshire – where Labour lost several key seats.
Wakefield, Don Valley, Great Grimsby and Rother Valley were among long-held Labour constituencies to fall to the Tories in December as the previously impregnable ‘red wall’ of seats in the North and Midlands collapsed.
Hustings for the leader and deputy leader elections kick off on Saturday in Liverpool, with events planned each weekend in cities including Durham, Bristol, Cardiff, Nottingham, Glasgow and London.
There will also be hustings in the West Midlands and Bedford.
The shadow Brexit secretary, who has 68 nominations from the parliamentary party, tweeted: ‘I’m disappointed the Party hasn’t organised hustings in the South East, East of England or Yorkshire. Labour can win the next election, but only if we win back people’s trust across the UK.
‘I’ll be writing to the NEC tomorrow asking them to reconsider.’
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who has 24 nominations, said: ‘As I have repeatedly said, the Labour Party has lost seats for the first time in our history in areas like Bolsover, Wrexham and Stoke.
‘The failure to debate the future of our party in communities like these shows that we are part of the problem.’
Who is in the frame for the Labour leadership?
Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer was raised by socialist parents who named him after Keir Hardie, the Labour leader’s founder and a colossus of the socialist movement.
The current bookies’ favourite to win the leadership, in Who’s Who he refers to his parents Rodney and Josephine Starmer as ‘Rod and Jo’.
The shadow Brexit secretary was an out-and-out Remainer who frequently clashed with Corbyn’s inner circle over his overt support for a second referendum.
The 57-year-old lawyer, a former director of public prosecutions, was kept largely out of sight during the election campaign as the party tried, unsuccessfully, to hold on to Leave seats in the north.
Distrusted by hard left fans of Mr Corbyn, the Holborn and St Pancras MP set out his stall to be a unity candidate, attacking ‘factionalism’ and saying the party needed to include both Momentum and fans of Tony Blair.
And he dangled a carrot in front of Corbynites, saying he did not want the party to move too far rightwards.
He also played up his humble roots, with the Oxford-educated lawyer Sir Keir, who owns homes in London and Surrey worth more than £2million, saying in December: ‘I know what it’s like. I actually never had been in any workplace other than a factory until I left home for university. I’d never been in an office.’
He said he did not want a return to the era of Tony Blair, telling the BBC this morning: ‘I don’t need someone else’s name tattooed on my head to make decisions.’
But he might face difficulty if he is seen as not left wing enough, or if the party feels it needs a northern voice to win back seats.
Emily Thornberry has been dogged by claims of snobbery towards working-class voters for years.
The shadow foreign secretary, whose Islington seat neighbours that of Jeremy Corbyn, was forced to resign from Ed Miliband’s front bench in 2014 after tweeting an apparently mocking image of a house in Rochester with a white van and England flags outside.
Labour came third in the by-election in the constituency, which was won by Ukip.
After December’s election failure she was embroiled in a furious row with ex-minister Caroline Flint, who lost her Don Vallley seat to the Tories.
Ms Flint claimed Mrs Thornberry told a northern MP privately that Brexit voters were ‘stupid’.
Mrs Thornberry has angrily denied the allegation and threatened to sue Ms Flint.
A lively performer in Parliament, she has admirers among Labour’s clutch of metropolitan MPs.
Ms Thornberry’s London seat and vocal pro-Remain position could tell against her – although the membership is generally pro-EU.
Rebecca Long Bailey
The shadow business secretary is seen as the ‘continuity’ candidate, having been closely involved in Labour’s lurch to the Left.
Frequently deployed on media, the 40-year-old’s career has been pushed by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who has long tipped her as a future leader.
Entering the contest she set out her stall saying she will keep pushing ‘our socialist agenda’, stressing her hard-Left credentials.
In a thinly-veiled swipe at rival Keir Starmer, she insisted she had not been happy with the party’s Brexit stance in the election campaign, saying it had eroded ‘trust in our communities’. She also admitted Labour should have been ‘tougher’ in addressing a wave of vile anti-Semitism among activists.
But Ms Long Bailey gave a staunch defence of Mr Corbyn, complaining that he had been subjected to ‘unprecedented levels of criticism and attack against his own personal character’ and she felt he was the ‘right man’ with the ‘right ideas’.
Given Labour’s dire need to reconnect with its traditional heartlands, her northern constituency and accent will also be selling points.
The Wigan MP washed her hands of the Corbyn project some time ago – which could be a boon given its humiliating failure in the election.
But the 40-year-old has maintained a high media profile, and has strong left-wing credentials away without being marked on the extreme.
While the leadership desperately tried to stay neutral, she pushed hard for Labour to adopt a more Leave policy and accept the verdict of the referendum.
Announcing her run she said: ‘Without what were once our Labour heartlands, we will never win power in Westminster … I have heard you loud and clear.’
Ms Nandy was involved in unsuccessful talks to support Theresa May’s deal, but has indicated she would not support Boris Johnson’s harder Brexit.
However, some MPs complain that she is ‘lightweight’ and failed to make good on her rhetoric about allowing Brexit to happen.
The Birmingham Yardley MP is a confident performer in the media and the House of Commons chamber.
Her straight-talking, no-nonsense manner and Brummie accent have won her many fans and she was one of the first names mentioned as a contender after Mr Corbyn announced he would step down.
Ms Phillips said that she would ‘have to look at what was going on at the time’ and that ‘if it is more economically viable to be in the European Union then I will fight for that’.
But the MP for Birmingham Yardley then appeared to perform a screeching U-turn as she said there is ‘no doubt or debate’ that the UK is leaving the bloc and that she did not believe a pledge to rejoin would be in the party’s next manifesto.
The 38-year-old’s willingness to criticise the leader has won her few friends among Corbynistas, with a groundswell of opposition to her taking over.
She has been the target of high levels of online abuse from people across the political spectrum, including death threats.
She also has no experience of the party’s front bench, something that could either count against her or for her, depending on the views of the members.
In March she said she would ‘be a good prime minister’.
At a time when several moderate MPs had quit Labour she added: ‘I feel like I can’t leave the Labour Party without rolling the dice one more time. I owe it that.
‘But it doesn’t own me. It’s nothing more than a logo if it doesn’t stand for something that I actually care about – it’s just a f***ing rose’.
‘I might need to write my name on my forehead’: Black Labour MPs complain of racism after fellow politicians mistake them for each other or STAFF after they take their seats in the Commons for the first time
Two black Labour MPs have hit out at racism in Parliament today after being mistaken for each other and even being asked to carry bags by fellow MPs who assumed they were lowly staff.
Florence Eshelomi and Abena Oppong-Asare both took their London seats for the first time at December’s general election.
But they have been left less than impressed by their experiences in their first few weeks in Parliament.
They spoke out after a weekend in which Labour Party MPs faced racism claims as minority leadership and deputy leadership candidates struggled to make the cut to replace Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson.
Erith and Thamesmead MP Ms Oppong-Asare hit out on Twitter, saying: ‘The other day I was outside the chamber talking to (Rosena Allin Khan) and one of the Tory MPs walked straight to me to put his bag in my hands asking me to look after it.
‘In my first week someone came up to me confusing me with another black MP.
‘I said no I’m the other black sista from (Erith). He raised he eyebrows and said wow there’s more of you.
Florence Eshelomi (right) and Abena Oppong-Asare (left) both took their London seats for the first time at December’s general election.
‘Last week another MP from another party came over to chat to me about a convo we had before Xmas.
‘I realised a few mins in she got me confused with another #BlackSista.
‘I’m thinking I might need to write my name on my forehead as I think some people are really struggling to tell the difference.’
Her revelations prompted new Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi, 39, to share her own experience.
The new parliamentarian, who took the seat after the retirement of veteran Labour MP Kate Hoey, said: ‘Girl I also got confused for another black sista MP as we were coming out of the voting lobby…… but I have to admit it was by a fellow Labour MP.
‘Guess we all need to wear massive name tags right.’
Labour MPs have faced calls to get black and minority ethnic (Bame) MPs through to the second round of the leadership election, with Bame candidates struggling to win nominations.
Lisa Nandy, whose father is Indian, has already received enough votes to go through but Clive Lewis, whose father is from the West Indies, is currently last in the leadership race, and seems like to be knocked out when nominations close this afternoon.
In the deputy leadership race, Dr Rosena Allin Khan and Dawn Butler are propping up the pack and face a challenge to make the 22-nomination cut today.
Last week Mr Lewis launched an astonishing attack on fellow party MPs, accusing them of failing to back his bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn party because he is black.
The Norwich South MP said that racism ‘might be a factor’ in his failure to attract more than a handful of backers from the parliamentary party, as he launched his campaign in south London.
Mr Lewis, 48, (pictured this morning) a former journalist and soldier, is currently last among the six-strong fields to become the next leader
Speaking in Brixton the shadow Treasury minister said that ‘structural’ racism and sexism were ‘a reality of our society’.
‘The PLP – the Parliamentary Labour Party – isn’t immune from the same forces that affect everyone within our society,’ he added.
‘It’s possible to be in the PLP and be sexist and be racist in some ways as part of those structural issues.
‘Do I think that’s the only reason that I’m on the nominations that I am? No.
‘I think it’s more complex than just saying it is because I’m black.
‘That might be a factor, but I wouldn’t sit here and say it was the only one.
‘I think the other factor is that I am saying some things that no other candidates are talking about.’