Barry Gardiner considers surprise Labour leadership bid

Elliot Chappell
© Chris McAndrew/CC BY 3.0

Barry Gardiner is reportedly preparing to announce his entry to the Labour Party’s leadership contest in a surprise late bid for the top job.

The Brent North representative and shadow cabinet member is set to become the seventh Labour MP to join the contest, according to an exclusive story by HuffPost UK on Wednesday evening.

The BBC has also reported that Gardiner was approached to run by Len McCluskey, but the influential Unite the Union general secretary has issued a strong denial in response to this claim.

Gardiner’s office has confirmed that he is considering a bid, though not at the encouragement of McCluskey, and the shadow cabinet member will reveal his decision shortly.

The London MP has been a key media performer under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, and has served as Labour’s international trade spokesperson since 2016.

Gardiner also served under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He nominated David Miliband in Labour’s 2010 leadership contest and declined to nominate anyone in 2015 or 2016.

First elected in 1997, he is a former chair of Labour Friends of India and former vice-chair of Labour Friends for Israel. He voted in favour of the Iraq war – still a key issue for many members – and for maintaining the UK’s nuclear programme.

Gardiner would be joining Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Clive Lewis and Emily Thornberry in the main leadership election, which officially kicked off on Tuesday and will conclude on April 4th.

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