Chuka Umunna announces he will run for Labour leader

The MP says the party must change its message on business

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Indy Politics

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has joined the race to be the next leader of the Labour party.

In a video statement posted on Facebook Mr Umunna said he believed Labour could win the next election and that he wanted to create a "fairer, more equal society".

"I’m pleased today to be announcing that I will be standing for the leadership of the party. I think we can and should be winning in seats like in Swindon. North, South, East, West, we can absolutely do it as a party. Some have actually suggested over the last few days that this is now a 10 year project to get the Labour party back into office," he said.

"I don’t think we can have any truck with that: I think the Labour party can do it in five years. I want to lead that effort as part of a really big Labour team, getting Labour back into office and building a fairer, more equal society. That’s why we all joined the party in the first place."

Mr Umunna, who has been shadow business secretary since 2011, is considered by bookies to be one of the frontrunners in the competition.

The Independent on Sunday reported late last year that Mr Umunna had the private backing of former prime minister Tony Blair to be the party’s next leader.

Elected in 2010, the MP has long been the subject speculation about his leadership ambitions.

The announcement follows an appearance on Sunday morning television and a comment piece in the Observer newspaper.

In the opinion article the shadow business secretary said the party should be “on the side of those who are doing well” and that no one should be “too rich or poor” to be a member.

When Mr Umunna was first elected he was associated with the centre-left Compass think-tank, though he has since moved closer to the New Labour pressure group Progress.

 

The shadow business secretary joins Labour MP Liz Kendall, who announced on Sunday that she would run for leader.

Dan Jarvis, a former paratrooper who was tipped to run, has ruled himself out because of family commitments.

The bookies’ favourite for the top job is centre-left MP Andy Burnham, who has not yet announced a candidacy.

Mr Burnham has served as health secretary and shadow health secretary.

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, may also launch a leadership bid.

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