The independent London newspaper

Labour leadership bid boost for Thornberry

MP wins backing from Islington South members in her campaign to take over from Jeremy Corbyn

14 February, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Emily Thornberry has until midnight tonight (Friday) to gain enough support to make it to the final round of voting

EMILY Thornberry has been given a boost in her bid to be the next Labour leader after party members in Islington South backed her to take over from Jeremy Corbyn.

In Islington North Keir Starmer edged past Rebecca Long Bailey.

Both constituency Labour parties in the borough gave their verdict in votes this week.

Of the 125 Labour party members who attended the Islington South meeting on Monday, 91 voted for their MP, more than 50 per cent, in the first round of balloting which meant that second and third preferences on the papers were not taken into account.

At the Islington North meeting on Saturday, however, Ms Long Bailey – who is backed by left-wing activists’ group Momentum – was ahead of Mr Starmer after the first round of votes with 125 to 80.

Keir Starmer

But the Tribune understands Mr Starmer pulled ahead for a narrow victory of 138 to 135 after he picked up second and third preference votes.

One attendee said: “The results speak for themselves. The most enthusiastic group of voters are RLB (Rebecca Long Bailey) but the nature of the preferential system is that candidates with broad support are favoured. Starmer picked up a lot of Lisa Nandy’s supporters which edged him over the line.

“It might be tempting to see this as a symbolic earthquake and break from Corbynism in his own backyard, but I wouldn’t be so sure.

“Lots of more left-wing members were not there on Saturday and I think they will vote online, especially the young.

“It’s all to play for.”

Jeremy Corbyn

Another attendee, who voted for Ms Long Bailey, said: “Some people looked like they had just visited a morgue after the vote. I think we need to just get together and give our backing to whoever wins. Starmer could be like Jeremy in terms of policy, just a bit more suited and booted in appearance.”

Mr Starmer, Ms Long Bailey and Ms Nandy have already made it onto the ballot, which will be sent out to the whole membership, after receiving support from unions and affiliated groups on top of getting more than 33 constituency Labour Party CLP nominations.

Ms Thornberry has until midnight tonight (Friday) to get support from enough CLPs after she failed to pick up nominations from unions and affiliated groups.

Voting for the next Labour leader will open on February 28 to all members and close at noon on April 2.

The winner will be announced at a conference on April 4.


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