Who might stand for the Labour leadership?

9th May, 2015 10:53 am

We look at the potential candidates for the Labour leadership. If you know of anyone we might have missed please let us know on [email protected]

Andy Burnham


Burnham is currently Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, a role he has held since October 2011. Popular with activists (as our regular Shadow Cabinet rankings attest), Burnham is seen as a passionate advocate of the state’s role in public services. He’s likely to get support from the left of the party as well as potentially attracting union support too. However his perceived move from right to left over the past five years has raised eyebrows.

Yvette Cooper


The Shadow Home Secretary is perhaps the most prominent female member of Labour’s top team (save perhaps acting leader Harriet Harman). Cooper is considered a serious intellect and a strong media performer. She’s been an MP since 1997 and has serious front-line political experience. However with husband Ed Balls having lost his seat on May 7th, might a tilt at the leadership come so soon after a difficult election?

Mary Creagh







Currently Labour’s Shadow Minister for International Development, Creagh has held a number of senior party roles, also shadowing DEFRA and (relatively briefly) Transport too. The Wakefield MP (and one time leader of Labour’s group of councillors in Islington) is a dark horse in this race, but is already canvassing Labour MPs. Her argument is likely to be that she has more experience than some, and less baggage than others.

Dan Jarvis


Former paratrooper, marathon runner and disarmer of muggers, Dan Jarvis has been an MP for the least amount of time of all mooted contenders, having only been elected in a by-election during the last Parliament. His easy going manner belies a steely determination and drive which seems him working long days in Parliament and on the campaign trail. Difficult to pin down ideologically, which may be either an advantage or a disadvantage.

Liz Kendall


Shadow Social Care Minister Liz Kendall is often categorised as a Blairite, yet the Leicester West MP is perhaps more accurately defined by her interest in the politics of power and where it lies in society. An advocate of the devolution agenda with an interest in pushing power down to people, keen runner Kendall could be one of the 2010 intake who throws their hat into the ring.

David Lammy






Former Business, Innovation and Skills Minister David Lammy has already said that he wants to run as Labour’s candidate for London Mayor next year, but with nominations for that selection not yet open, he is reportedly considering a tilt at the leadership instead. Lammy’s mayoralty candidacy has been defined by his focus on housing, communities and a pro-immigration stanc

Chuka Umunna

chuka 150 x 150

A strong media performer who can be very persuasive on TV, Umunna was one of the most prominent members of the 2010 intake, and has been talked of as a future Labour leader since before he was even elected. As Shadow Business Secretary Umunna was seen as someone business could do business with. Meanwhile, his perceived political movement from a Compassite to someone more likely to work with Progress surprised many.

Other potential candidates

Caroline Flint – a strong media performer, Flint has excelled in the energy brief – an important role for Labour over the last five years. Seen as on the right of the Party, her loyalty to Ed won her loyalty in return from activists.

Tristram Hunt – thoughtful, studious and widely considered to have handled the education brief well, Hunt could be the dark horse moderniser candidate.

John McDonnell – If the leftist campaign group decide to run a candidate for leader, it will almost certainly be McDonnell (with Diane Abbott making it clear her interest lies in running for London Mayor). He ran against Gordon Brown in 2007  and again 2010, but failed to reach the requisite level of nominations each time to go forward.

Rachel Reeves – one of Labour’s biggest stars after just five years as an MP. But as she is just about to go on maternity leave now may not be the best time for her to be running a campaign.

With the dust not yet settling on this election defeat, there may well be more people considering their options – this by no means a comprehensive list.

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