Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, has withdrawn from the Labour leadership contest.
Phillips said in a statement:
“The Labour Party will need to select a candidate who can unite all parts of our movement, the union movement, members and elected representatives. And I have to also be honest with myself, as I said I always would be throughout this campaign.
At this time, that person is not me. In order to win the country, we are going to have to find a candidate, in this race, who can do all of that, and then take that message out to the country.”
There are now four candidates remaining in the contest, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Sir Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry.
Five of the six candidates contesting the Labour leadership battle have reached sufficient support from MPs to proceed to the next stage. Keir Starmer received 88 nominations, Rebecca Long-Bailey received 33 nominations, Lisa Nandy received 31 nominations and Emily Thornberry and Jess Phillips received 23 nominations each. Clive Lewis failed to receive sufficient support, with just five nominations, thereby exiting the contest.
Barry Gardiner, the Shadow International Trade Secretary, may be a surprise entrant to the Labour leadership contest. He said in a statement that he would decide within the next 24 hours whether or not he would become the seventh candidate in the contest.
The current six candidates in the contest are Clive Lewis, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry..
Labour’s NEC has confirmed that the new party leader will be announced on 4 April 2020 at a special conference. Anyone who is a member of the party, or an affiliated organisation, on 20 January 2020 will be entitled to vote in the election.
There are currently six candidates standing in the election, Clive Lewis, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.
Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed that she intends to stand as a candidate in the Labour leadership contest. Long-Bailey, the current Shadow Business Secretary, is the sixth person who has now entered the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
Writing in Tribune Magazine, Long-Bailey wrote:
“The election result was devastating. But with the climate crisis spiralling and the far-right on the march, we must regroup for the struggles ahead. Our task is to build a winning vision of a socialist future, and this task has never been more urgent.”
“Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn we’ve drawn upon the collective knowledge and experience of that movement to develop a radical, ambitious socialist vision for the future. This is our greatest strength, and we need a leader who comes from and will stay true to that movement.”
Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed that he intends to stand in the leadership election to replace Jeremy Corbyn. Starmer, the current Shadow Secretary of State for Brexit, wrote in the Sunday Mirror about his intentions to stand and unite Labour.
Starmer wrote in the article:
“I am proud of Labour as a movement of more than half a million members. We must use that strength and be visible in every community. We have a duty to relentlessly hold the Tories to account for their election promises.”
“I believe another future is possible, where everyone can live in a more equal and tolerant world. Some people say it’s going to take a decade before Labour can win a General Election. I profoundly disagree. As this new decade dawns, I believe we can unite the party, retain our values and win.”
Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, has taken a lead in a poll of Labour members of who should become the next party leader. The survey, undertaken by YouGov, reported that Starmer was the first choice in all regions of the country amongst party members.
The polling suggested that Starmer had the support of 61% of party members, compared to the 39% who supported Rebecca Long-Bailey if the two candidates were running against each other.
Amongst party members, the following were the first choice of those interviewed:
Keir Starmer – 31%
Rebecca Long-Bailey – 20%
Jess Phillips – 11%
Clive Lewis – 7%
Yvette Cooper – 7%
Emily Thornberry – 6%
Lisa Nandy – 5%
Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, has announced that he will be a candidate for the party’s leadership following the resignation of Jeremy Corbyn. Lewis, who is on the party’s left, said that members would be given more power to select candidates and policies.
Writing in the Guardian, Lewis said:
“In a divided party, there is always a danger that factions will overcome facts; or, with a compromise candidate, that triangulation will trump truth. I want to break this cycle: to use the leadership campaign as an opportunity for us all to learn from each other, and to help our party grow. That’s the first reason I’m standing: for a chance to tell the truth. With our party on the edge of a precipice, now is the time to dispel our fears and face up to reality.”
He also rejected the record of New Labour and the party’s period in Government, saying:
“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. 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.”