Everything you need to know about the Labour leadership candidates
They’re not all the same
After their dramatic loss to the Tories in December that delivered Boris Johnson a majority of over sixty, the time has come for the Labour party to prepare to try again. Corbyn is out and Labour needs a new leader – who will it be?
There are four candidates still up for the job, out to win the hearts and minds of Labour’s membership, union members and affiliate groups. So, here’s all you need to know about the candidates, who they are, and what they’re promising.
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Current front runner, Keir Starmer, was first elected as an MP in 2015 and is currently Shadow Brexit Secretary. Before entering politics, Starmer was a human rights lawyer who acted as Director of Public Prosecutions and Head of the Crown Prosecution service from 2008-2013, even being knighted in 2014 for his work.
Previously a strong remainer, Starmer now says he will campaign for a close EU trade deal and work on protections of workers’ rights and the environment. He was seen as a leading figure in Labour’s decision to back a second referendum before the 2019 general election.
Starmer has urged for Labour to not “trash the last Labour government or the last four years” in what is seen by many as a call for unity from Labour’s centre and hard left factions.
He has called for more devolution of power to end Whitehall and Westminster’s “monopoly of power” and has vowed to remain “radical” despite Labour’s defeat.
Long-Bailey is a major contender in the race, seen as the hard-left candidate most similar to the incumbent leader and backed by Corbyn allies, like Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell. She is currently the Shadow Business Secretary after first being elected as the MP for Salford and Eccles in 2015. Before entering parliament, Long-Bailey was a solicitor specialising in commercial law and NHS contracts.
Despite voting to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum, she believes getting a “good deal” should have been a priority rather than a second referendum and blamed Labour’s focus on the “parliamentary process” surrounding Brexit for their defeat.
When asked to rate Jeremy Corbyn’s performance as labour leader, Long Bailey gave him “ten out of ten” but has since tried to distance her position as Corbyn’s chosen candidate, arguing she would act “very differently” on issues of National Security.
She was a key figure in establishing Labour’s plan for a ‘Green New Deal’ and seems set to maintain many of the 2019 manifesto promises.
First elected as the MP for Wigan in 2010, after serving as a Labour councillor and working for charity Centrepoint and the Children’s society, Nandy was a shadow minister under Ed Miliband and Corbyn before resigning after the Brexit referendum in protest.
She remained a vocal supporter of a soft Brexit over a second referendum and was strongly opposed to revoking Article 50, despite initially campaigning for remain.
Nandy helped set up the ‘Centre for Towns’ in 2018 and has called attention to local bus networks and routes. Her love for towns has even spread to Twitter, inspiring the account ‘Lisa Nandy Memes for Town Loving Teens’.
Much of her campaign has been focused on creating a plan to win back lost labour voters in northern towns and she has placed herself as a candidate against the 2019 manifesto, claiming it was “overloaded”.