Chuka Umunna was in third place in survey of defeated Labour parliamentary candidates, poll reveals

Polls raises questions on why the shadow Business Secretary decided to withdraw from the contest

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Chuka Umunna was trailing in third place in a survey of defeated Labour parliamentary candidates when he quit from the leadership race, a poll for The Independent on Sunday reveals today.

The intriguing snapshot of how the leadership candidates are viewed in the wider party will fuel speculation over why the shadow Business Secretary decided to withdraw from the contest. Mr Umunna cited intrusion into his private life, and aides insisted that he was well on his way to getting the 35 nominations needed from MPs to stand.

Yet the survey of 62 defeated parliamentary candidates – who gave their views anonymously – shows Andy Burnham in first place on 27 per cent, with Liz Kendall second on 18 per cent and Mr Umunna on 13 per cent, suggesting that the MP for Streatham may have struggled to get similar support in the Parliamentary Labour Party.

The survey was conducted by Westminster Public Affairs, a lobbying consultancy, and was still open when Mr Umunna pulled out. Mr Umunna was on third place before his announcement. Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, came fourth on 8 per cent.

 

Worryingly for Tristram Hunt, who is yet to announce his candidacy officially, the shadow Education Secretary polled just 3 per cent among the defeated parliamentary candidates. The survey also polled deputy leadership candidates, with Tom Watson and Stella Creasy joint top on 29 per cent, while Caroline Flint is third on 11 per cent.

Olly Kendall, the managing director of Westminster Public Affairs, said: “The survey results provide a fascinating snapshot of the opinions of an influential group of Labour activists. The election candidates volunteered a wide range of views about the qualities needed in a new leader and the challenges the party must address over the next five years. One theme which emerged was a concern that the new leader will be chosen in haste, before the party has had time to undertake a rigorous and honest assessment to establish why it lost so badly at the election.

“Labour’s new leader must both unite the party and inspire the country. It’s a tough ask and the feedback from many of Labour’s election candidates is that they want as long as possible to hear what the contenders have to say.”

Full report and survey results are at www.westminsterpa.com

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