How each Labour leadership candidate has voted on key issues

Labour leadership candidates Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry have passed the MP and MEP nomination threshold and will now enter the second stage of the contest.

Ahead of local party and affiliate nominations opening on Wednesday, LabourList has taken a look at the voting records of the five leadership hopefuls.

We’ve also included a list of how each contender chose to cast their nomination papers in the recent Labour leadership elections of 2015 and 2016.

Starmer, Long-Bailey and Phillips entered parliament in 2015, whereas Nandy has a longer voting record having first been elected in 2010 and Thornberry took her Commons seat in 2005.


Welfare benefit cap

During the 2015 leadership contest, interim leader Harriet Harman decided that Labour should abstain rather than vote against the government at second reading. Although 48 MPs defied the whip to vote against the government, it passed by 308 to 124 votes.

Harman’s so-called “reasoned amendment” opposed child poverty targets and changes to employment and support allowance (ESA), but made no mention of changes to child tax credits and offered support to cut the household welfare cap to £20,000 per year. It was defeated by 308 votes to 208.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, against
Lisa Nandy, abstained (maternity leave but spoke out against it)
Jess Phillips, abstained
Emily Thornberry, abstained
Keir Starmer, abstained

All of the candidates voted against at the final legislative stage in the Commons, but this second reading of the bill was crucial in shaping the 2015 leadership election.


Trident

In July 2016, the House of Commons voted on a motion to renew Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The leadership gave Labour MPs a free vote.

Long-Bailey, against
Nandy, against
Phillips, for
Thornberry, abstained
Starmer, for


Chilcot enquiry

In November 2016, the SNP tabled a motion calling for parliament to hold to account former Prime Minister Tony Blair for misleading the House over the Iraq war.

Long-Bailey, abstained
Nandy, abstained
Phillips, against
Thornberry, abstained
Starmer, against


Brexit

On February 8th 2017, MPs voted on triggering Article 50 in the third reading of the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which began the process of the UK leaving the EU.

Long-Bailey, for
Nandy, for
Phillips, for
Thornberry, for
Starmer, for

15 Labour MPs later voted to back Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement, including Nandy. She then voted against the government’s fast-track programme motion in October, and the legislation didn’t proceed.


Third runway at Heathrow

On June 25th 2018, MPs voted to approve the national policy statement that called for a third runway to Heathrow airport. Labour opposed the expansion, but the leadership gave MPs a free vote on the issue.

Long-Bailey, abstained
Nandy, against
Phillips, for
Starmer, against
Thornberry, against


Syria

December 2015 saw MPs vote for the UK to conduct airstrikes in Syria by 397 to 223 votes. Corbyn said the action would “almost certainly” result in the death of innocent people but gave MPs a free vote.

Long-Bailey, against
Nandy, against
Phillips, against
Thornberry, against
Starmer, against


HS2

On March 23 2016, the House of Commons voted to pass phase 1 of High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) – the bit from London to the West Midlands. Labour whipped in support of the legislation.

Long-Bailey, for
Nandy, for
Phillips, for
Starmer, against
Thornberry, for

MPs voted for phase 2 of HS2 – the bit from the West Midlands to Crewe – in July 2019 and the Bill passed by 263 to 17 votes.

Long-Bailey, for
Nandy, abstained
Phillips, abstained
Starmer, abstained
Thornberry, abstained


Who did they each nominate in the 2015 leadership election?

Long-Bailey – Jeremy Corbyn
Nandy – Andy Burnham
Phillips – Yvette Cooper
Starmer – Andy Burnham
Thornberry – Jeremy Corbyn


Which candidates nominated Owen Smith in the 2017 leadership contest?

As incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn automatically secured a place on the ballot paper and did not need to be nominated by colleagues. Owen Smith received 162 MP nominations.

Keir Starmer
Lisa Nandy
Jess Phillips

Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry endorsed Corbyn.

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