Keir Starmer has become the first Labour leadership candidate to secure a place on the ballot paper, today reaching the threshold for affiliate nominations with the fresh backing of trade union Usdaw.
15 executive members of Labour’s fourth largest affiliate, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, met in Manchester on Monday afternoon to decide on their leadership nominations.
The retail trade union settled on Starmer for the main leadership race as well as deputy leadership candidate Angela Rayner, who is now on the ballot paper in her contest.
Every leadership candidate must be nominated by either 33 local parties or three affiliate organisations, including two trade unions, comprising at least 5% of Labour’s affiliated membership.
Before the Usdaw boost, Starmer had already won the support of large union UNISON – which allows him to reach the 5% of affiliate membership requirement – and environmental affiliate group SERA.
The frontrunner has also been placed, along with rival Rebecca Long-Bailey, on a ballot to be put to TSSA members.
The Holborn and St Pancras MP is leading in support expressed by local parties so far, with 11 nominations compared to Long-Bailey’s three. None of the others have yet gained CLP nominations.
With hundreds of constituencies yet to hold meetings to decide on leadership and deputy candidates, Starmer is likely to exceed the threshold for local party nominations as well as pass via the affiliates route.
Usdaw is considered to be a Corbynsceptic union, having supported Andy Burnham in the 2015 Labour leadership election and Owen Smith over Jeremy Corbyn in 2016.
Commenting on their nomination decision, general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Usdaw believes that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are the right leadership team to unite and rebuild Labour after a devastating election loss.
“Our members desperately need Labour in power, they cannot afford another decade of Conservative governments attacking workers’ rights, incomes and public services.
“The Labour Party must be led by someone who can persuade voters that they have what it takes to be a Prime Minister and we are a government in waiting. That is at the heart of Usdaw’s decision to make these nominations.”
Of the remaining ‘big five’ unions, GMB, Unite and the CWU are yet to announce who they will support for deputy and leader but are expected to do so over the course of this week.
More from LabourList
Should government departments have CEOs? Our new report makes the case
Metro mayor on left of Labour barred from standing for new role
Labour has lost 170,000 members since 2018 – but 50,000 have joined in a year