Yesterday the J-Word reported on Starmer’s surpassing the minimum amount of nominations needed by his Labour colleagues to officially enter the leadership race. In today’s update no other candidate has managed to obtain more than 22 supporters, but there have been significant changes.
GuidoFawkes‘, frequently updates its Who’s Backing Who? page, and with four-days until nominations close, the publication’s spreadsheet suggest that Rebecca Long-Bailey is all but certain to enter the next round, with a hard fought race between Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips in third.
Since the last report the turnout among Labour MPs and MEPs has skyrocketed, from around a one-fifth of the 212 elected politicians to just under half. Undeniably, it is Lisa Nandy who has seized momentum in the early days of this election race. Her support has more than septupled from 2 nominations to 15. The surge in support for the Wigan MP came after several news outlooks reported that she outperformed all of her competitors at the first Labour leadership hustings held in Westminster. Nandy’s supporters tend to stem from critics of Corbyn, who accept that Britain must leave the European, including Stephen Kinnock, Graham Stringer and Jon Cruddas.
However, Sir Keir Starmer has also built upon his supporters. The number of parliamentarians publicly endorsing the Shadow Brexit Secretary has almost doubled to 45 MPs and MEPs. He has attracted many MPs who are considered to be from the centre-ground and Remain-wing of the party. Notably he has built a coalition of supporters who opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s re-election in 2016, including Ben Bradshaw, Bridget Phillipson and Jo Stevens.
The initial front-runner, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has witnessed a moderate increase in her support. Her seven, primarily Corbynista backers, have grown to 20, two short of joining Starmer in the next round of this lengthy leadership race. While Jeremy Corbyn has announced he will not be backing any of the leadership hopefuls, his closest allies are clearly aligning to Long-Bailey. John McDonnell, Diane Abbot and Angela Rayner have all announced their support for the Shadow Business Secretary.
Neck-and-neck with Lisa Nandy is the outspoken backbencher, Jess Phillips. The member of parliament for Birmingham Yardley 15 backers include some prominent figures in the party’s anti-Corbyn and pro-EU faction. The likes of Chris Bryant, Margaret Hodge and Wes Streeting have all publicly announced their support for Phillips.
Little has changed at the rear of the pack. Both Clive Lewis and Emily Thornberry have failed to put their stamp on the race. Unsurprisingly, the former soldier has built on the zero nominations he had yesterday, with Rachael Maskell announcing her support on PoliticsLive.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary may have trebled her support from one to three, but she will be disappointed that she has not managed to make the same impact that Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy have. The most notable of her trio backing the former lawyer is Nia Griffith, member of parliament for Llanelli and Shadow Defence Secretary.
The deputy leadership race has had more engagement from the parliamentary Labour party with 106 of the 212 politicians in Brussels and Westminster officially endorsing one of the six candidates.
The six candidates to fill the role, vacated by Tom Watson prior to the general election, are: Rosena Allin-Khan, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler, Khalid Mahmood, Ian Murray and Angela Rayner.
Only Ian Murray and Angela Rayner can be certain of entering the next round of the contest. Murray has 23 backers. He has represented Edinburgh South West on the green benches since 2010 and has witnessed Labour’s decline in Scotland. When he first entered Westminster, Labour was the largest party in Scotland, with 41 of the 59 Commons-seats, today he is the sole Scottish MP who wears a red rosette.
Rayner, who currently serves as the Shadow Education Secretary, has the backing of around a quarter of the parliamentary Labour party with journalists reporting that 52 Labour MPs and MEPs have declared they will nominate her for deputy leader.
Khalid Mahmood lags behind the other candidates with just two supporters. While Dawn Butler and Rosena Allin-Khan are level on seven. It is perhaps surprising that the Shadow Justice Secretary, Richard Burgon, has not managed to win more support from his colleagues. The former solicitor, who starred in a comical ITV election debate, is currently endorsed by just a dozen of his colleagues.
By J Walters