Labour leadership race: Yvette Cooper gets backing from Mary Creagh as signs emerge that she is gaining ground on Jeremy Corbyn

Ms Cooper’s speech on refugees last week may have swung some undecided Labour members and supporters

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Yvette Cooper’s campaign to lead Labour has received the backing of her former contest rival Mary Creagh, as signs emerge that the shadow Home Secretary could be gaining ground on Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Cooper’s speech on refugees last week, in which she called on the Government to set a quota of 10,000, may have swung some undecided Labour members and supporters, who have until 10 September to vote.

In an article for The Independent on Sunday, Ms Creagh, the shadow Secretary of State for International Development, said Ms Cooper’s speech on refugees showed she had the leadership required to take Labour into the 2020 election.

She wrote: “Labour needs a leader who can unite the party, shape our national debate and make the world a better place. That leader must show [the British people] how Labour will make their lives and [their children’s lives] better. I believe that leader is my Yorkshire neighbour, Yvette Cooper. Yvette has shown she would honour the UK’s proud history of offering shelter to those in need.

“Her call for the UK to take 10,000 refugees shows the strength of her values and her courage and crystallised my decision to support her as leader. It changed the nature of the national debate, from one where tabloid columnists referred to refugees as cockroaches … and forced David Cameron into a U-turn.

“True leaders don’t just follow public opinion, they create, shape and change it. Leaders do not accept the world as it is, but instead paint a picture of the world as it should be. That is what Yvette has done.”

Fellow leadership candidates Jeremy Corbyn and Andy Burnham told Channel 4 News they would be happy to take Syrian refugees into their own homes.