Yvette Cooper has signed up five more MPs to back her bid for Labour leader, putting her within touching distance of the 35 MPs needed to get on the ballot paper, The Huffington Post UK can reveal.
Former Cabinet minister Liam Byrne, veteran backbencher Virendra Sharma and new intake MPs Judith Cummins, Ruth Cadbury and Marie Rimmer all came out in support today.
The list comes ahead of a big day for the Labour leader race, with Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham all due to deliver speeches tomorrow.
The new names today mean that Cooper now appears to be the front-runner in terms of number of MPs behind her campaign, with a total of 28 having endorsed her bid to run the party.
The Burnham campaign have declared 25 names so far, while the Kendall campaign have 21 and Mary Creagh 5.
Nearly half are women, and today's names underline the mix of old hands and newcomers that the Cooper camp believe underlines her breadth of support.
A campaign spokeswoman said: "Yvette has support from MPs across the country and from all sections of the Party. We will be announcing more endorsers in the coming days."
At the general election, Ms Cummins replaced Gerry Sutcliffe in Bradford South, Ms Rimmer replaced Shaun Woodward in St Helens South and Ms Cadbury won Brentford and Isleworth back from the Tories.
Under party rules, at least 15% of the Parliamentary Labour Party have to nominate a candidate before they can be formally put through to the leadership or deputy leadership election.
There are three weeks to go before nominations close. The election itself takes place from August 14, with the winner unveiled at a special conference on September 12.
Although the main three contenders all believe they have the required 35 names already, some of them may 'transfer' nominations to other candidates to keep the contest as broad as possible.
Ms Kendall has attracted big names such as Chuka Umunna and Stephen Twigg in the past week, while Mr Burnham made an early start in attracting Michael Dugher, Rachel Reeves and Dan Jarvis among others.
Yesterday, 2015 intakers Anna Turley and Conor McGinn also signed up to the Burnham campaign. Stephen Kinnock is among those who have endorsed Mary Creagh.
Cooper's other backers to date include:
- Emily Thornberry
- Ian Austin
- Jim Cunningham
- Karen Buck
- Lyn Brown
- Steve McCabe
- Chris Bryant
- David Hanson
- John Healey
- John Spellar
- Kevan Jones
- Khalid Mahmood
- Sharon Hodgson
- Stephen Pound
- Vernon Coaker
- Kate Green
- Jess Phillips
- Paula Sheriff
- Shabana Mahmood
- Seema Malhotra
- Helen Jones
- Diana Johnson
- Helen Goodman
Earlier today, Cooper was on form in the Commons chamber up against Theresa May and Michael Gove.Suggest a correction