Labour leadership race: the declared, the likely and the maybes

After the party’s general election defeat, who will be the successor to Jeremy Corbyn?

The contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader following the party’s comprehensive defeat at the general election earlier this month has started to gather pace. With more MPs expected to enter the race in the coming days, and a timetable to be announced next week, here is the latest list of potential candidates.

Already declared

Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry.

The shadow foreign secretary was the first to say she was running. There was speculation that she made a public statement to stop haemorrhaging support to other possible candidates.

The MP for Islington South has said that if Labour floundered in the polls under her leadership, she would quit. She said she would also leave if MPs told her they did not have confidence in her.

Clive Lewis

Clive Lewis

A wild card candidate, the shadow Treasury minister is on the party’s left but previously quit the shadow cabinet over whipped support for article 50. The MP for Norwich South has at least one volunteer working on his campaign and is also the first to set up a leadership website, Clive For Leader.

Expected to declare next week

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Rebecca Long Bailey

The closest to Corbyn of the likely candidates. Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, who is Long-Bailey’s flatmate, was expected to run for deputy to give her a clean shot. Long-Bailey’s campaign would have the weight of big-hitting party associates behind it, including Momentum’s Jon Lansman and the Unite boss, Len McCluskey.

Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer.

The bookies’ favourite has made significant noises that he is interested in running for the leadership and is expected to launch a campaign in the new year. The former director of public prosecutions has pledged that Labour would return to being a broad church under his leadership, but with radical ideas.

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy

She has not declared, nor has she ruled herself out. Yet from the very first few days after the election she was touted as contender, and she is conducting a large “listening” exercise, visiting seats where Labour lost. The number of think pieces and public commentary on Labour’s future from Nandy suggests it is reasonable to expect her to declare in the new year.

Weighing up their options

Ian Lavery

Ian Lavery.

A former general secretary of the National Union of Miners and seen as on the left of the party, Lavery is likely to be seen as a candidate to win back working-class northern voters if he does decide to run.

He became Labour chairman in 2017 and was jointly in charge of the party’s failed election campaign, which saw the Conservatives win an 80-seat majority. His own majority was squeezed to just 814.

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper.

Some MPs have urged the chair of the home affairs select committee and former cabinet minister to stand. Speculation of a possible bid increased this weekend after she wrote in the Sunday Mirror that Labour needed to be a “broad church” and resist the “pressure to be a factional or narrow, hard-left party”.

Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips

On election night, the Birmingham-based MP said “somebody like me could be leader of the Labour party”, which was taken as a sign she was planning a bid. She has been clear that the party needs to talk to members more and has criticised its self-indulgence.

David Lammy

David Lammy.

His bid so far has come in the form of a piece in the Observer where he set out some of the reforms he felt Labour must make to truly speak to Britain. On Sunday, friends said he was still considering whether to run. If he does and gets elected, he would be the party’s first BAME leader.

Dan Jarvis

Dan Jarvis

The MP for Barnsley and current Sheffield City mayor told a journalist last week that he might stand. A former army officer from the centre of the party, he has called for a Labour leader who is credible on the economy and national security.

What next..?

While the timetable for the contest has yet to been announced, it is expected to begin next month, with a new leader set to be in place by the spring.

To be a candidate on the ballot paper, each potential leader will need the backing of 10% of Labour MPs and MEPs.

They will then have to win support from either 5% of constituency Labour parties or affiliated unions or organisations.

Once on the ballot paper, every MP, party member and affiliated supporter – those who are members of trade unions and socialist societies – will have one vote each via post or online.

The contest has to take at least five weeks, according to party rules, but the actual timetable will be decided by a meeting of the party’s national executive committee on 6 January.


Rajeev Syal

The GuardianTramp

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