What is going on in the Labour Party?

“I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign.”

Jeremy Corbyn

After December’s election saw the Labour party lose 59 seats in parliament, leader Jeremy Corbyn stepped down. Whilst he kept his seat in Islington, London, he has decided to step down from being the leader of the Labour party after receiving the worst General Election performance of the Labour party since the 1930s. So what happens now and who will be the next leader of the Labour party?

Each candidate, who wants to become the new leader or the Labour party, had to have a backing of 10% from Labour MPs and MEPs. This occurred on the 7th of January. In addition to this, they needed to have nominations from trade unions or 5% of constituency parties. This occurred on the 15th January. With this being done, the candidates are selected. On the 21st of February, a ballot opens, under a one person one vote system. Labour Party members and registered and affiliated supporters then vote. Voters rank candidates in order of preference. On the 2nd of April, the ballot closes and votes are counted. If it happens that there is no overall winner, then votes will be redistributed and candidates are eliminated until one candidate reaches more than 50%. On the 4th of April, the results will be announced and there will be a new leader.

Who are the Candidates?

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Rebecca Long-Bailey was first elected MP for Salford and Eccles in 2015. She was one of the 36 Labour MPs to nominate Jeremy Corbyn as leader and was part of his inner circle. She believes in having a socialist leader to rebuild communities and fight for Labour’s policies. By doing this, power will go back into the hands of communities instead of being concentrated in Westminster. She wants to remove the House of Lords and replace it with an elected senate outside of London. In addition to this, she said that she will remove any anti-Semitism that is still within the Labour party so that trust is regained. Her vision of a future Britain is one in which “everyone is free to dream, free to climb and free to succeed.”

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy was first elected MP in 2010 for Wigan. Insead of supporting Corbyn in the 2015 Labour leadership race, she supported Andy Burnham. This lack of support for Corbyn was further shown when she became one of many shadow cabinet ministers to resign in protest to his leadership in the run up to the EU referendum. She set up Centre for Towns in 2018 which is a ‘think tank driven by the belief that the current economic model views cities as the engines of growth to the detriment of towns.’ She believes that towns have been left behind and ignored. She said that in order for Labour to win the next election, they need to win back trust from their former safe seats. This can only be done, she said, by someone who is proud to be from those communities and is willing to go out and listen.

Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips pulled out of the leadership race on the 21st of January. She said that the Labour Party needs a leader that is able to unite everyone. She went on to say “that person is not [her].” I wrote the description below before this happened. I have decided to keep it in just in case anyone wanted to know what she was promoting.

Jess Phillips was first elected MP of Birmingham in 2015 where she won more than 40% of the votes. In the 2015 leadership race, Phillips supported Yvette Cooper instead of Corbyn. She gained a reputation for being critical about the Labour leader. She said that Corbyn was ineffective at handling allegations of sexual harassment and anti-Semitism within the Labour party. From the backbenches, Phillips has continuously brought up conversations of women’s rights and austerity. In addition to this, she promotes free childcare, a properly funded education system, and an end to homelessness and indefinite detention. She believes that there needs to be “more honesty in politics”. She says she has the capability to reach out to people and gain their trust even if they have different opinions. By doing this, she believes that the Labour Party can win back power.

Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer became an MP for Holborn and St Pancras in 2015. He supported Andy Burnham instead of Corbyn in the leadership race. He was appointed shadow Home Office minister but resigned in 2016 in order to protest. Later on that year, he rejoined the shadow cabinet and became shadow Brexit secretary. As a remainer, he pushed for transparency from the government around the whole process. He said that millions of people need change due to the injustice and inequality in Britain and that this can only be done but rebuilding support for Labour. By reuniting Labour, he believes that they can achieve anything from equal pay to peace in Northern Ireland. Furthermore, he said that Labour’s agenda needs to adapt so that it can deliver economic, social and climate justice.

Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry was first elected MP for Islington South and FInsbury in 2005. As a backbench MP, she focused on health and housing issues. In 2015, under Corbyn’s leadership, she became shadow minister for employment. She was later promoted to shadow defence secretary and then shadow Brexit secretary. She says that she comes “from the heart of the party” due to being involved in issues like climate change and the war in Yemen. She thinks that she will be the perfect candidate for getting under Boris Johnson’s skin due to shadowing him when he was foreign secretary. She said that the Labour party works best when listening to members and answering them. By doing this, she believes that the Labour party will become stronger.

The polls are currently saying that Keir Starmer will win the leadership race by securing 46% of the vote with Rebecca Long-Bailey being the second most popular at 32% of the vote. But who do you think will win? Or what candidate do you think will steer the Labour party in the right direction to gain more seats in the next general election? Let me know by getting in contact with me.

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