Angela Rayner is expected to endorseRebecca Long Baileyfor the Labor leadership in the new year, contrary to intense speculation that she might instead pursue a leadership bid of her own.
A source close to the shadow education secretary told the Guardian that she had only discussed a possible deputy leadership bid with colleagues, including Long Bailey. The source dismissed suggestions that Rayner would ever stand against or refuse to back her close friend and flatmate.
There had been reports that allies were urging Rayner not to backLong Bailey’s bid to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
The source said: “This speculation should be dismissed. Angela has been discussing with otherLaborMPs a potential deputy leadership and is expected to make a decision early in the new year. ”
In anarticle in the Guardian, Long Bailey said she was considering running to become leader and would back a deputy leadership bid by Rayner.
A report in the Times claimed that allies of Rayner had warned her not to endorse Long Bailey. One source told the newspaper: “It’s clear what Rebecca gets out of Angela’s support but not clear what Angela gets out of it. She’ll walk deputy either way. ”
The shadow foreign secretary,Emily Thornberry, and the shadow Treasury ministerClive Lewishave confirmed they will stand to become party leader.
Another eight MPs say they arestanding standing, including Long Bailey, Ian Lavery, the party chairman, Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, and the Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.
The woman who many saw as Corbyn’s strongest loyalist candidate, Laura Pidcock, lost her seat
in the the December election.
Some Corbyn supporters have expressed concern that the possibility of three leftwing candidates – Long Bailey, Lavery and Lewis – could split the left vote and allow a centrist MP to win.
But Toby Perkins, the Labor MP for Chesterfield, suggested that the left was in fact acting together to smooth Long Bailey’s path to the leadership. “Don’t be fooled by this,” he wrote on Twitter. “It’s purely an attempt to convince us all that [Long Bailey] is not a far-left choice. He [Lavery] won’t really stand, she will. ”
Corbyn has said he will stand down as leader early next year in the wake of the election defeat, in which many of the party’s traditional northern English strongholds fell to the Conservatives.
While the timetable for the contest has yet to been announced, it is expected to begin next month, with a new leader to be in place by the spring.
To be a candidate on the ballot paper, each potential leader will need the backing of 18% of Labor MPs and MEPs. Because there are 728 MPs and MEPs, they will need 29 votes.
They will then have to win support from either 5% of constituency labor parties or “at least three affiliates (at least two of which shall be trade union affiliates) comprising 5% of affiliated membership”.
This has given both trade union general secretaries and grassroots organizations such as Jon Lansman’sMomentumsignificant say in who will become the next leader.
Momentum has proved itself to be adept at rallying its supporters at key internal elections.
There are only unions affiliated to the Labor party, of which only five are big enough to take a candidate across the 5% threshold: Unite, Unison, the GMB, Usdaw and the CWU. Some in the center of the party say that rule changes introduced in have vastly improved the odds of a leftwing successor to Corbyn.
Once the ballot paper is finalized, every MP, party member and affiliated supporter – or member of a trade union or socialist society – will have one vote via post or online. Registered supporters, who paid a one-off fee to participate in a leadership election, can also vote.
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.
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