Jeremy Corbyn narrowly makes Labour leadership ballot paper after last-minute surge

The left-winger passed the post with literally seconds to go before the deadline

Jon Stone
Monday 15 June 2015 19:36 BST
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn

Left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn has narrowly made it onto the ballot paper for the Labour leadership contest after a tense final morning before nominations closed.

The socialist backbencher secured 36 nominations by his colleagues at the last moment in a photo-finish countdown that gripped Westminster.

Mr Corbyn was still seven nominations short with an hour to go before the noon Monday deadline, and still three nominations short with 10 minutes to go.

A last minute burst of MPs into Labour’s parliamentary offices, where nominations were delivered in person, put the Islington North MP just over the line.

The final MP to deliver their nomination for Mr Corbyn was reported to be Oxford East MP Andrew Smith. Other last minute additions include Chi Onwurah and Neil Coyle.

Many of those who nominated Mr Corbyn said they were doing so to broaden the terms of debate in the Labour party rather than because they supported him for leader.

He also picked up nominations from a number of people who had formerly backed Mary Creagh, who withdrew from the leadership contest.

The left-winger now joins Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, and Liz Kendall in the final contest. The three other candidates had already secured the required 35 nominations with 66, 56, and 40 respectively.

The difficulty for Mr Corbyn finding support in Labour’s parliamentary party comes despite a grassroots straw poll last week by the LabourList website giving him a huge lead amongst ordinary members.

He polled 47 per cent to Andy Burnham's 13 per cent, with other candidates trailing them both.

The left-winger is standing on an anti-austerity platform and wants to re-open the discussion about why Labour lost the election.

The high parliamentary threshold of support was introduced by Ed Miliband at the same time as he brought in the one-member, one-vote system for electing leaders.

With nominations closed there will be a campaign period, followed by an election of all Labour members, opt-in affiliated trade unionists, and registered supporters outside the party.

The election will be conducted using the ‘alternative vote’ system in which voters rank candidates in order of preference.

Yvette Cooper will today also launch her ambition to end child poverty within a generation, a promise she is excepted to make the centrepiece of her campaign.

In a speech she will say Labour would compel the Office for Budget Responsibility to assess the impact of all policies of child poverty, putting it at the heart of all spending decisions.

Bookies William Hill have Andy Burnham at 5/6, Liz Kendall at 5/2, Yvette Cooper at 3/1, and Jeremy Corbyn at 50/1 to be next leader.

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