Lisa Nandy promises to let councillors nominate Labour leadership candidates

Wigan MP has place on ballot paper alongside Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long Bailey in race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn

Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey clash over changing how MPs are selected

Labour leadership hopeful Lisa Nandy has promised to give the party’s local councillors a place at the shadow cabinet table if she succeeds Jeremy Corbyn.

In a swipe at the party’s “neglect” of its local government base under previous leaders, Ms Nandy said she would end the “bizarre” situation where unions and affiliated organisations - but not councillors - are able to nominate candidates for the leadership.

In a speech in the totemic constituency of Bassetlaw - lost to the Tories for the first time since 1929 in December’s election- she also vowed to give councils more economic clout by transferring £12 billion of funding from Local Enterprise Partnerships to local authorities.

Ms Nandy - who has already secured her place on the ballot paper for the leadership election, alongside Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long Bailey - was speaking in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, one of the small towns whose interests she has championed in her drive to restore Labour’s appeal outside the cities.

She said that giving Labour’s elected leader on the Local Government Association a seat at the shadow cabinet table, along with the party’s chiefs in Scotland and Wales, would bring grassroots supporters into the battle to win power in 2024.

"Our councillors and their leaders possess so much insight and expertise that we cannot afford to exclude them as we learn the hard lessons from successive election defeats,” said Nandy, who herself served on a London council before being elected to parliament.

“Labour-led councils are our grassroots government and can help the party build trust and political success in all other elections.

“We must strengthen the red thread from the work of all Labour councillors on the ground to the policies we develop as a Labour government in waiting.”

Ms Nandy said the LEPs set up by Tories under David Cameron to replace Labour’s regional development agencies had shown they were “not up to the job” of regenerating local economies.

Nandy takes on her leadership rivals at a hustings event

It's time to give back control to local authorities, so that money for regional investment is in the hands of democratically elected councillors,” she said. “Let’s put power back in the hands of communities.”

Ms Nandy said the current leading contest had “lifted the lid on the party’s neglect of our councillors and Labour groups”, as they were denied the right to nominate candidates, while MEPs were able to just days before losing their seats at the European Parliament.

“I would review the leadership and deputy election process to ensure our councillors have an ability to make collective nominations alongside affiliates, MPs and constituency parties,” she said.

“The role of local government needs to be elevated in our party. Our grassroots government needs a seat at the top table.”

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