Rebecca Long-Bailey’s leadership hopes were dealt a huge blow today after Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency backed Keir Starmer for the job.
Local members in Islington North gave the shadow Brexit secretary a boost by picking him over his closest rival, who is seen as the continuity candidate in the race.
The surprise result confirms he is picking up crucial support from the party’s left, with the CLP nominated outgoing leader Corbyn in 2015 and 2016.
Islington North CLP nominates:— CLP Nominations (@CLPNominations) February 8, 2020
• Keir Starmer to be leader of the Labour Party
• Angela Rayner to be deputy leader of the Labour Party
This CLP nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 and 2016.
The announcement was made after Emily Thornberry and Long-Bailey clashed during a hustings event.
Ms Thornberry took an apparent swipe at Ms Long-Bailey’s claim that she had to work into the night on one occasion as she had to deal with a Commons committee at short notice, and was brought pizza to get her through the preparations.
The shadow foreign secretary compared this to her experience in the shadow cabinet after a mass walk-out by members opposed to Corbyn’s leadership agenda.
Ms Thornberry told the hustings in Nottingham: “Frankly, it was quite tough. At one stage I was foreign secretary and defence secretary at the the same time.
“And at another time I was foreign secretary and Brexit secretary at the same time.
“And I know some people had to be up late eating pizza, but, I tell you, I did all of these different jobs, all at the same time and supported the leader in the way that he needed to be supported.”
Ms Long-Bailey responded to the jibe, saying: “Oh, miaow. We love each other really.
“I was working very, very hard, I’ll have everybody know. We did have to eat pizza.”
Starmer cancelled his campaign events this weekend because his mother-in-law remains in a critical condition in intensive care.
He was due to take part in hustings with other candidates in the battle to succeed Jeremy Corbyn on Saturday and Sunday.
A spokesperson for the early front-runner in the leadership race said: “Since being admitted to hospital two weeks ago, Keir’s mother-in-law remains in a critical condition in intensive care.
“For this reason, he will be cancelling all campaign events this weekend and will be unable to attend hustings.
“We ask that his family’s privacy is respected at this time.”
Support and kindness
Sir Keir pulled out of campaign events for a number of days in January after his mother-in-law was admitted to hospital following an accident.
At the time the shadow cabinet member thanked people for their “support and kindness” in what he said had been – and would continue to be – a “very difficult time”.
Polls have regularly been suggesting that Sir Keir is likely to come out on top in the leadership ballot in which he is pitted against Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry and Lisa Nandy.
The campaign result will be announced on April 4.