Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn urges frontrunner Keir Starmer to publish major donations to his campaign

Departing Labour leader also says he would prefer shadow foreign secretary job if offered role on successor’s front bench​

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Saturday 29 February 2020 10:06 GMT
Sir Keir Starmer, left, has served as shadow Brexit secretary under Jeremy Corbyn
Sir Keir Starmer, left, has served as shadow Brexit secretary under Jeremy Corbyn (AFP/Getty)

Jeremy Corbyn has urged Sir Keir Starmer​, the frontrunner in the Labour leadership race, to publish a list of individuals who have provided major financial support to his campaign.

In a surprise intervention, the outgoing Labour leader also insisted he will not be “disappearing” when his successor is unveiled, and said that if he is offered a frontbench job under the new leader, he would prefer the role of shadow foreign secretary.

His remarks came after Sir Keir’s rivals in the contest – Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy – both published a list of donations above £1,500 to their leadership campaigns.

Major financial support to Ms Long-Bailey’s campaign includes over £200,000 from the Unite union and over £100,000 from left-wing organisation Momentum.

Ms Nandy’s campaign has also received over £170,000 in cash from private donations, but the shadow Brexit secretary has so far resisted pressure to release details of his financial backers earlier than he is obliged to under parliament’s rules.

Asked by the Islington Gazette whether Sir Keir should publish donations to his campaign, Mr Corbyn said: “Yes.”

“I think there always has to be openness in all respects, and when you receive financial support for a political campaign, it’s very important to know where it comes from. All of it should be published,” he said.

“I published everything in my leadership campaigns. The number of high-level, big-ticket donors we had was very small – I leave that to others.”

Responding to Mr Corbyn’s comments, a source in Sir Keir’s campaign team told The Independent: “The campaign publishes its donations in line with the law and rules set out by the Labour Party for this contest. The first tranche was published last month.

“We’ve submitted our next tranche to the parliamentary authorities and expect it to be published next week.”

Despite not officially endorsing a candidate to succeed him, Mr Corbyn has poured praise on Ms Long-Bailey, and on Friday appeared in a video with her to discuss her leadership campaign and plans for a “green industrial revolution”.

Ms Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, has also said she will offer Mr Corbyn a job in her top team if she is elected leader on 4 April, after the Islington North MP said he would consider serving in his successor’s shadow cabinet.

Asked what cabinet position he would prefer, Mr Corbyn told the Islington Gazette: “I think foreign policy because I have spent my life on human justice and environmental justice issues. But that’s not up to me, that’s up to the next leader.”

“I will be working on human rights, environmental and social justice whatever position I do or don’t hold,” he said.

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