Labour leadership: Keir Starmer favourite to replace Corbyn as voting closes

Three contenders have been asked to pre-record victory speeches

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Thursday 02 April 2020 12:15
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Sir Keir Starmer in profile

Voting in the contest for Labour’s next leader and deputy has drawn to a close, with just two days remaining until the party unveils Jeremy Corbyn’s successor.

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary and frontrunner in the race, is vying to take Labour into the 2024 general election alongside the shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and the Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.

The latest survey from pollsters YouGov shows Sir Keir, who has stood on a “unity” platform in the three-month long contest, has a commanding lead over his rivals and could win on first preference votes.

Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, has also emerged as the favourite in the deputy leadership contest, and is competing against Labour MP’s Rosena Allin-Khan, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Ian Murray.

Campaigning and hustings events in the contest abruptly ended last month due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, and Labour was forced to cancel its planned members’ conference in central London to announce the party’s next leader.

Instead, Labour will announce the results of its internal ballot of over half a million eligible members, registered supporters and affiliates, electronically on Saturday morning.

Speaking on Sunday, Ms Long-Bailey, the left-wing contender in the contest and close ally of Mr Corbyn, said that all the candidates have been asked to pre-record a victory speech ahead of the winner being announced.

“I think it’s trying to deal with these strange times and have an announcement on the leadership contest so that our members and the public can view from their homes really,” she told Sky News. “It’s logistically quite challenging and I think we’ve all been asked to do this victory speech so that it can be sent out over the airwaves as quickly as possible after we win.”

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