Corbynite frontrunner Rebecca Long-Bailey has put an end to speculation that she may have decided not to run for the Labour leadership and confirmed her bid for the top role tonight.
The MP for Salford and Eccles has used an article for Tribune – the online version of a quarterly publication supportive of the Labour left – to announce that she is definitely standing to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
In the comment piece, she strongly criticises the agenda promoted by Labour before Corbyn became leader, describing the platform as consisting of “triangulation and Tory-lite policies that held our party back”.
The Labour left candidate pitches herself as someone who is “totally committed to the policies” and “can be trusted with our socialist agenda” with a “political backbone”.
Long-Bailey writes: “I don’t just agree with the policies, I’ve spent the last four years writing them.” She cites Labour’s plans for a Green New Deal, to democratise the economy and to renew high streets as examples of policies she has championed from the frontbench.
“It is true that one reason we lost the election was that Labour’s campaign lacked a coherent narrative. But this was a failure of campaign strategy, not of our socialist programme,” the leadership candidate argues.
She also vows to “never throw migrants or BAME communities under the bus”, and warns against Labour being “too close to the establishment we are meant to be taking on”.
Explicitly addressing the fact that her entry into the race was later than expected, Long-Bailey notes that she “wanted to take time to reflect” following the election and did not have a “ready-made” campaign because she was putting her efforts into the general election.
Ian Lavery, who was also considering a bid from the Labour left, has declared for the first time tonight that he is not standing and will be “throwing [his] full support” behind Long-Bailey.
Long-Bailey is regarded as the leadership candidate whose politics are closest to that of Corbyn, and she is expected to pick up the endorsements of Unite the Union and most likely Momentum too.
Time was running out for the Labour left contender as the leadership election hustings for the Parliamentary Labour Party are set to be held on Tuesday evening.
At a key meeting this afternoon, Labour’s ruling body agreed the rules and timetable according to which the party leadership and deputy leadership elections will be conducted over the next few months.
It was decided that the contests would begin on Tuesday and conclude on April 2nd, with the final result being announced on April 4th. Labour MPs and MEPs will nominate their preferred candidates this week.