Open Labour set to back Nandy for leader based on member ballot

Sienna Rodgers

Soft left group Open Labour is set to endorse Lisa Nandy for Labour leader and Angela Rayner for deputy leader based on the results of a member ballot, LabourList can reveal.

Although the organisation has no official nomination powers because it is not affiliated to the Labour Party, it held a vote of its members that produced a high turnout of 80%.

The result of the ballot aligns with the positioning of the group, which is considered to be on the ‘soft left’ of the party, in that both Nandy and Rayner have long been seen as belonging to the same tradition.

Open Labour member preferences were first Lisa Nandy, then Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry. For deputy candidates, Rosena Allin-Khan came second, followed by Dawn Butler, Ian Murray and Richard Burgon.

Before the contests started, Open Labour set out ten pledges that it urged candidates to sign up to – including a commitment to “encourage all socialist societies, affiliates and Labour member-based organisations to ballot their members before endorsement of candidates”.

Momentum balloted its members but did not give them a free choice to pick any candidate, instead asking ‘yes/no’ questions on recommendations put forward by the national coordinating group.

The CWU, a large affiliated trade union associated with the Labour left, held a special conference in Bristol that saw its nomination powers awarded to 500 delegates.

The majority of affiliated socialist societies and unions – including Unite, UNISON, Usdaw and FBU – are having their executive councils directly decide which candidates to back in Labour’s leadership elections.

During its member vote, Open Labour organised leadership and deputy leadership hustings that took place in Nottingham and were attended by around 350 people.

Starmer could not make it to the event as a family member was critically ill at the time, which meant he sent a video that was played and a written statement to be read out instead.

Nandy impressed on issues such as immigration, which saw her reiterate clear support for continued freedom of movement, and was thought to have spoken well about the effect of cuts on disabled people.

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