Keir Starmer Labour Leadership Boost As He Wins Backing Of Most MPs And Unison

Shadow Brexit secretary gets expected backing from Commons colleagues.

Keir Starmer’s hopes of becoming Labour’s next leader have received a double boost after he was backed by Britain’s biggest union and a tranche of MPs.

The shadow Brexit secretary secured more nominations from MPs than any other rival in the race to become Labour’s next leader and has already passed the parliamentary hurdle needed to make it onto the ballot.

He surged into the lead among his Commons colleagues with 23 MPs backing him. Rebecca Long Bailey is in second place with the support of 7 MPs. Jess Phillips has the support of 6 MPs.

But Starmer also won the hugely significant support of Unison, the union that represents 1.3 million NHS and other public sector staff.

With candidates needing at least two trade unions and 5% of affiliated members, Unison’s endorsement means that he will almost certainly become the first contender to get on the leadership ballot.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: “We believe – if elected by the membership – Keir Starmer would be a leader to bring the party together and win back the trust of the thousands of voters who deserted Labour last month.

“Unions created the Labour Party to give working people a voice in Westminster. But it can only achieve for them, their families, their communities and the country’s public services when in government. Keir has a clear vision to get Labour back to the winning ways of the past.”

Starmer said: “I want to lead a Labour party that will stand side-by-side with trade unionists.”

With just five days left until nominations close, contenders have to win the support of 22 MPs to go through the first stage of the process to get on the ballot to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. There are 202 Labour 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 2 MPs.

Emily Thornberry has received the backing of 1 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. At least two unions plus one affiliate are needed.

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

List of nominations

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Paula Barker

Apsana Begum

Kim Johnson

Navendu Mishra

Angela Rayner

Zarah Sultana

Mick Whitley

Lisa Nandy

Rosie Cooper

Yvonne Fovargue

Jess Phillips

Tonia Antoniazzi

Neil Coyle

Julie Elliott

Holly Lynch

Siobhan McDonagh

Wes Streeting

Keir Starmer

Debbie Abrahams

Tracy Brabin

Ben Bradshaw

Bambos Charalambous

Judith Cummins

Alex Cunningham

Janet Daby

Thangam Debbonaire

Stephen Doughty

Clive Efford

Preet Gill

Emma Hardy

Carolyn Harris

Sarah Jones

David Lammy

Chris Matheson

Kerry McCarthy

Stephen Morgan

Marie Rimmer

Nick Smith

Bill Esterson

Jo Stevens

Daniel Zeichner

Emily Thornberry

Fabian Hamilton

Last night the six candidates set out their stalls in parliament. Addressing the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), Long-Bailey said that in losing the election, Labour “let down the people who rely on us”.

Earlier, the frontbencher insisted that she was not the “continuity candidate” to replace Corbyn, but gave him a “10 out of 10 rating” – describing him as “one of the most honest, kind, principled politicians I’ve ever met”.

Starmer told the hustings that the party needs to “win back our heartlands” and had “a mountain to climb”.

Phillips told the hustings she does not want to be the next leader of the opposition, but rather “the next Labour prime minister – I want the people here to be in government”.


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