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UK Politics

Can you spot a future Labour leader?

The Government may be in its final throes, but eight young men offer the party hope

With Gordon Brown on the ropes and the Government apparently in freefall, planning a career as a Labour MP may not seem the best idea at the moment. But these smartly dressed young men are tipped as the next generation of leaders who could rescue Labour from years in opposition.

They appear in June's issue of the men's magazine Esquire, dressed in Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Paul Smith. The best known of the group is Chuka Umunna, Labour's 30-year-old candidate for Streatham, who has been described as "Britain's Barack Obama" and regards social justice as the beating heart of the Labour Party.

Luke Pollard, 29, prospective candidate for South West Devon, has perhaps used YouTube to better effect than his leader, posting clips of himself campaigning to boost votes in the safe Tory seat.

David Chaplin, 27, vice chairman of the Young Fabians, cites Tony Blair as his hero. James Bevan, 25, from South Wales, chooses his namesake Nye Bevan as his role model.

The group also includes Dan Whittle, 30, the director of Unions 21, a group for young trade unionists; James Connal, 31, a former special adviser to Geoff Hoon; and Jack Hopkins, 28, who says his hero is Neil Kinnock. "He was a leader taking his party through massive change, and he never lost his sense of social justice." Tom Stoate, 24, is the son of Labour MP Howard Stoate. He works for the skills minister David Lammy and was involved in the Obama campaign, which he describes as "a real example of people power, which will define our politics over the next century".

Earlier this year Tory parliamentary candidates raised eyebrows by appearing in Tatler, where they were described as future chancellors, foreign secretaries and home secretaries.

With Labour on course for election defeat, the eight are more likely to find success on polling day in 2014. But Joe Phelan, who carried out the Esquire interviews, predicted they would be leading lights over the next decade. He said: "If you were to go back to the early 1990s, no one outside the Conservative Party had heard of David Cameron and George Osborne and the Conservative Government was heading for defeat. These could be the equivalent for Labour."

The full "Dressing to the Left" feature appears in the June issue of Esquire, on sale 7 May