Barry Gardiner Says 'I Can Win A General Election' In Interview Live From Abu Dhabi

Shadow international trade secretary has said he wants to "energise" the Labour leadership race.

Barry Gardiner has insisted he can win a general election as he confirmed his wish to run to be Labour leader.

In an interview with the BBC live from Abu Dhabi, the shadow international trade secretary said he was attempting to clear the 22-MP hurdle needed to enter the race.

He told presenter Victoria Derbyshire: “It’s very late now to be entering this race and I do so because I want to energise it, because I want to be sure that it can get the sort of dynamism into the debate that it needs.”

Gardiner said he had respect for colleagues already in the race and that they would “make a better prime minister than Boris Johnson”, but added: “If I do stand it will be because I stand the best chance of winning a general election that can bring in a Labour government that gives hope to people.”

He is in Abu Dhabi for a climate change conference.

It comes after HuffPost UK revealed that Gardiner was preparing to enter the competition amid doubts about the left’s favoured candidate Rebecca Long Bailey.

The shadow minister has served in frontbench posts in both the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown administrations.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer has a commanding lead as it stands, according to a YouGov released last week, and already has the 22 backers he needs to get on the ballot.

Gardiner could struggle to win enough nominations, however, with candidates including Clive Lewis and Emily Thornberry fighting to stay in the contest.

There are 202 Labour MPs and nominations close in five days.

Long Bailey is in second place with the support of seven MPs. Jess Phillips has the support of six MPs.

Lisa Nandy, who impressed backbenchers with her pitch at the first leadership hustings in front of MPs on Tuesday night, has the backing of two MPs.

Thornberry has received the backing of one MP. Clive Lewis has not received the vote of any MPs so far.

Under party rules, once the required 22 MPs have been secured, leadership contenders then need to win 5% of local party nominations or 5% of party affiliates such as trade unions or socialist societies.

The contest will end on April 2, with the winner announced two days later.