Then there were five – both in Labour’s leadership and deputy leadership elections. With just a handful of nominations including his own, Clive Lewis withdrew from the race only 45 minutes before the deadline. This allowed most of his backers – Nadia Whittome, Rachael Maskell and MEP Julie Ward – to lend their nominations to Emily Thornberry instead. (The other one, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, went to Rebecca Long-Bailey.) The Shadow Foreign Secretary made it through in the nick of time, ultimately securing 23 nominations of which a large chunk were ‘tactical’ and not from MPs intending to support her campaign. Why? A good number were Labour lefties who don’t believe that parliamentarians should exercise their veto in this process.
On the deputy side, Richard Burgon similarly scraped through shortly before the deadline. He relied heavily on the support of new MPs (eight of them) and Socialist Campaign Group members, ten of whom opted for the candidate widely seen as to the left of Angela Rayner. It must be noted that the Shadow Education Secretary, who has penned a LabourList piece to kick off a listening exercise, won a huge 88 nominations – the same as Keir Starmer for the leadership. And members who were hoping for more diversity in the deputy race have good reason to celebrate: Dawn Butler and Rosena Allin-Khan both made it through. But the next stage of the contest will be more challenging.
It is worth taking a look at the make-up of nominees for each candidate. Rebecca Long-Bailey’s nominations feature a high proportion of 2019 intake MPs at 16 out of 33 – almost half. Most of the rest were Socialist Campaign Group MPs. You will not find any Corbynites on the nomination list of Jess Phillips, as expected, and most of her support comes from the parliamentary party’s core Remainers.
Lisa Nandy offers perhaps the most interesting list to look at. Around a dozen of her backers were vocally opposed to a fresh EU referendum, as you might anticipate. There is a mix of Labour left (e.g. Tony Lloyd) and Corbynsceptic (e.g. Stella Creasy) support. She also has the notable backing of a few GMB-linked MPs, including Sarah Owen who represented the trade union on Labour’s ruling body before being selected as a parliamentary candidate.
Over at GMB, there are big fans of Louise Haigh, who has been wisely chosen as the parliamentary chair of Nandy’s campaign. During the speech at her campaign launch yesterday, the Wigan MP name-checked two affiliated unions: Unite and GMB. If GMB does nominate Nandy rather than Starmer, it will seriously improve her chances of making it onto the ballot paper and becoming lots of members’ second preference in the final vote.
- Today: Registered supporters window opens (5pm)
- Wednesday: CLP/affiliate nominations open
- Thursday: Registered supporters window closes (5pm)
- Friday: Long-Bailey launches campaign with speech (evening)
- Saturday: Party hustings in Liverpool (morning)
- Saturday: Fabian conference with Keir Starmer (10am-5pm)