Labour MP: ‘Very strong field of candidates’ in leadership race

Monday, January 13, 2020

Labour MP Charlotte Nichols has said there has been a “very strong field of candidates” in the contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn as leader. 

The newly elected MP for Warrington North told talkRADIO that despite supporting shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, she had lent her nomination to shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry in order to “broaden the contest”.

The first phase of the race draws to a close today with, candidates needing at least 22 nominations each by 2:30pm in order to win a place on the ballot paper.

Ms Thornberry and shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis currently only have 12 and five respectively.

Asked by Mike Graham why Ms Thornberry was proving “so unpopular”, Ms Nichols said this was not the case.

She said: “I don’t think she is unpopular, I think it’s just a very strong field of candidates.

“For a lot of people there are people that they would be supporting first, perhaps, but that doesn’t diminish her capability as a candidate.”

The backbencher went on to pledge her support for Ms Long-Bailey, saying she was the “architect of a lot of the most popular policies” in last month’s general election.

She added that it was “reductive” to label the hopeful as a “Corbynite”, despite Ms Long-Bailey supposedly being a favourite among previous leadership.

However, Ms Nichols criticised the current frontrunner Sir Keir Starmer for being responsible for the “one policy that was deeply unpopular” – the Labour Party’s Brexit stance.

Sir Keir already has the numbers required to go through to the next stage of the contest, along with Ms Long-Bailey, Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.

The new Labour leader will be announced at a special party conference on April 4.

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