Liz Kendall says Peter Mandelson never asked her to drop out of the Labour leadership race

It was reported that the New Labour grandee had tried to sink the leadership contest

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Labour grandee Peter Mandelson did not approach Liz Kendall’s team to ask her to drop out of the party’s leadership contest, she has said.

It was reported this morning in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that Lord Mandelson tried to persuade the three centrist Labour candidates to quit en masse to stop Jeremy Corbyn winning.

The newspaper says the plan was dropped after it was pointed out that Mr Corbyn being the only candidate left in the race would in fact cause him to win it.

But Ms Kendall denied even being approached by the peer.

“Neither me nor anybody in my team was approached. I have no idea where that came from,” she said,” she told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

 

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Peter Mandelson

“I’m not going to be dropping out in this contest. I can’t stop making the case – I believe that we need a credible Labour government.”

The shadow health minister said she did not know where the story had come from.

Ms Kendall’s response comes after her rival Yvette Cooper said she had not been approached.

"I've not discussed this with Peter Mandelson. I gather there was some view that maybe the whole process should be stopped because so many people were joining at the last minute,” she said.

 

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Labour leadership hopefuls: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall

"I don't think that's right. I think it's a good thing that people are joining the party."

 

Three of the candidates for the Labour leadership are currently jockeying to be a so-called ‘unity candidate’ to stop Mr Corbyn.

The campaigns for Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham both insist that they have the best chance of beating the left-winger, who is loved by members and supporters but rejected by the party establishment.

 

 

Meanwhile former foreign secretary and failed 2010 leadership candidate David Miliband has written an article for the Guardian newspaper urging members to vote for Ms Kendall.

A poll by YouGov showed Mr Corbyn with a 32 point lead over his nearest rival, later re-calculated to 37 per cent.

Voting in the contest has started this week, with the result due at a special Labour conference to be held in September.

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