Labour leadership hopeful Lisa Nandy could be angling to hoover up second preference votes when the contest comes to a head next month.
While supporters of Rebecca Long-Bailey and Keir Starmer are unlikely to endorse either candidate as their second choice, Nandy could be viewed as a natural fit.
In effect, she has manoeuvred herself into second preference heaven – and it could prove to be decisive.
How will the Labour leadership contest be decided?
Labour has experienced a surge in membership since the general election, a factor seen as a boon for candidates who are more inclined to shake things up.
Constituency Labour parties (CLPs) have reported rises in local membership amid the ongoing leadership race, in which members will vote from 21 February.
Members will make the final decision via a preferential ballot where voters will choose their first through to third preference.
Any candidate who wins more than half the votes will be declared the winner.
Why is that a boon for Nandy?
If no one candidate wins the first round – which looks likely at this stage – then the least popular candidate is eliminated and their supporters’ votes are redistributed to their second-choice candidate.
That process is repeated until one candidate has more than half the votes, which could prove to be a significant boon for Nandy.
When Jess Phillips pulled out from the leadership contest she backed the MP for Wigan as her first choice, signalling that she is increasingly perceived as the logical ‘next choice’.
She may also get a recommendation by Unite to its members to put her as their second preference, which could be crucial.
What is Nandy’s vision for Britain?
It also explains why Nandy has been tacking to the left in the past week – to broaden her appeal to members.
She has taken a swipe at New Labour – always a popular move among Long-Bailey’s faction – and announced she would make big businesses pay for the cost of poverty wages.
Elsewhere, there are several policy moves that have been cleverly designed to scoop up member votes.
She defended free movement and the benefits it brings as well as setting out an internationalist vision to win back power.
She has also called Jeremy Corbyn out for his mistakes in the last election, signalling that she recognises the need to change whilst not abandoning many radical aspects of the previous administration’s agenda.
It all places Nandy in good stead.
Despite being a relative outsider at the start of the campaign she has quickly won plaudits with a shrewd strategy aimed at quietly wooing both factions of the party’s membership base.
With a clear divide existing between the two favourites she could be well placed to sneak in by the back door.
A ‘cheeky Nandy’, if you will, but also a credible plan for success.
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