With the Labour Leadership contest edging ever closer towards its April 4th conclusion, Impact‘s Alice Nott offers a comprehensive insight into the remaining candidates, current election odds and the demands of the role in a post-Corbyn Labour party.
Ballot papers for the contest are out this week and the initial six candidates have been cut to three: Kier Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey. Anyone who joined Labour before the 21/01 and registered supporters have till noon on the 2nd April to choose Jeremy Corbyn’s successor. The election will be carried out using a single transferable vote.
The current frontrunner is Kier Starmer, seen as a ‘unity’ candidate bringing the two factions of the party (Momentum/Corbynistas and Progress/Blairites) together. However, Starmer is blamed by some for creating the Brexit policy that many on the left view as having lost Labour votes in key seats. Muhammad Ali, a 1st year Economics student and BAME officer for Nottingham Labour Students told Impact that for him Kier was “the best person to build a progressive coalition to kick the Tories out”.
“Nandy has also been seen as a unity candidate having been nominated by Open Labour, but is capable of generating great controversy”
Lisa Nandy has seen unexpected success in the contest, gaining positive reactions for her interview with Andrew Neil. Nandy has also been seen as a unity candidate having been nominated by Open Labour, but is capable of generating great controversy amongst some due to her position as the campaign manager of Owen Smith’s 2016 leadership bid against Jeremy Corbyn. However, this has not stopped her from picking up traction from all sides of the party and gaining growing support in the polls. George Sullivan, a 2nd year History student and campaigns officer for Nottingham Labour Students told Impact she is offering “the only plausible opposition to Boris Johnson’s populist appeal”.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, seen as the heir to Corbyn and having been nominated by Unite and the Socialist Campaign Group, was initially the frontrunner in the contest but has recently seen her support fall away somewhat. Having been nominated by Young Labour however, she still has a broad base of support amongst the youth vote which could prove pivotal as we move into the concluding month of the campaign. Katherine Harlow, a young Labour member and Broxtowe CLP’s LGBT officer told Impact she was supporting Long-Bailey because “she has shown courage in going against the whip after only three months into office”. Some have pointed out that Young Labour’s decision was not put directly to a ballot of young Labour members.
“Whoever is elected leader will need to reunite the party, establish a clear position on the post Brexit world and generate policies that will tempt back voters”
The new leader will be unveiled on the 4th April. Whilst some feel the result is a foregone conclusion, it was only in 2016 that the Party sprang a surprise choice in Jeremy Corbyn. Whoever is elected leader will need to reunite the party, establish a clear position on the post Brexit world and generate policies that will tempt back voters who have only just handed Boris Johnson a shock 80-seat majority.