Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis and backbenchers Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy have all announced they are running for the top job. The next leader of the opposition will take over a party which suffered its worst election defeat for almost 100 years, and saw its core working class supporters abandon Labour in the northern heartlands. Ms Long-Bailey, seen as the candidate favoured by the outgoing regime, is the latest contender to announce her leadership bid.
The MP for Salford and Eccles said the party needs a “proud socialist” at the helm and is seen as a frontrunner with the left-wing membership.
Ms Long-Bailey wrote in the Tribune magazine: “We need a proud socialist to lead the Labour Party, driven by their principles and an unwavering determination to see democratic socialism in our lifetime.
“For all of these reasons and more, I have decided to stand for election to become the next leader of our party.”
Her shadow cabinet colleague, Sir Keir Starmer could become the first knight of the realm to lead the party.
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Sir Keir, is seen as a more centralist figure within the party and has been critical of the party’s Brexit strategy.
The MP for Holborn and St Pancras said Labour “should have taken a stronger position one way or the other” and also ruled reversing the result of 2016 EU referendum under his Labour Government.
The shadow Brexit secretary insisted the argument for a second referendum ”blew away” with the election result.
The former Director of Public Prosecutions has also pledged to deliver ”fundamental change” needed to deal with inequality across the country.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey
Emily Thornberry, a frequent stand-in for Mr Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions, said the party need a leader with “political nous and strategic vision to reunite our party”.
The MP for Islington South and Finsbury, and ardent Remainer, also criticised the party’s position on Brexit and failure to persuade Mr Corbyn to back an outright Remain stance.
On Labour’s disastrous election showing, the shadow foreign secretary said: “We wilfully went into a single-issue election with no clear position on that issue and, as every pollster predicted, we were brutally squeezed by all the other parties with an unequivocal policy on Brexit, all of them sharing a clear strategy to eat into Labour’s base.”
Outspoken backbencher Jess Phillips and critic of the Labour hierarchy, has called on the party to elect “a different kind of leader”.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer
The MP for Birmingham Yardley urged the Labour membership it is “not the time to play it safe” and said Boris Johnson needs to be “challenged”.
Ms Phillips also told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that she would “wait and see” how Brexit turns out, but hinted a return to the European Union would be possible under her leadership.
Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, said she had a “deeper understanding” of what went wrong in the election and insisted she is the candidate to win back to the trust of voters in Labour’s ‘red wall’.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry
Backbench Labour MP Jess Phillips
The backbench MP told the Wigan Post: “Without what were once our Labour heartlands, we will never win power in Westminster and help to build the country we know we can be.
“I have heard you loud and clear when you said to earn that trust means we need a leader who is proud to be from those communities, has skin in the game and is prepared to go out, listen and bring Labour home to you.”
Shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis and keen socialist, wants to shift the party further away from the centre and the days of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Backbench Labour MP Lisa Nandy
Shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis
The MP for Norwich South said he wants to “unleash” and not “manage” the Labour movement.
He said: “The truth is that while making a clear break with the New Labour era in terms of policy and personnel, the party was never able to communicate this to voters in our heartlands.
“When trying to persuade them of our radicalism and sincerity, we often had the legacy of the 2000s thrown back in our faces.
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“Persuading voters that we understand the sources of their long-held resentment and frustration, of their disappointment in how Labour has conducted itself since the 1990s, will be the first step towards winning back their trust.”
On Monday, the party’s ruling National Executive Committee agreed on the timetable for the leadership and deputy leadership elections, with the results announced on April 4.