Labour leadership: Sir Keir Starmer announces bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn

4 January 2020, 18:36 | Updated: 5 January 2020, 14:18

The shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has confirmed he will run to be the next Labour leader - becoming the fifth MP to enter the race.

Sir Keir ended weeks of speculation with the announcement, and will launch his leadership bid on Sunday in Stevenage.

He has been a vocal supporter of Remain during his time as an MP, and has chosen the Hertfordshire town, which voted 59% to leave the EU, to start his campaign to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn said he would stand down from the Labour Party after it suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935 in the December election.

Sir Keir joins Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Clive Lewis and Emily Thornberry as the fifth MP running for the role.

A poll for Sky News earlier this week indicated Sir Keir would win the leadership - defeating Rebecca Long-Bailey, who is yet to confirm whether she will run.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, Sir Keir said: "Over the coming weeks, I'm looking forward to getting back on the campaign trail and talking to people from across the country about how Labour can rebuild and win.

"Britain desperately needs a Labour government. We need a Labour government that will offer people hope of a better future.

"However, that is only going to happen if Labour listens to people about what needs to change and how we can restore trust in our party as a force for good."

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In his letter, he said he knew how much "Labour supporters are hurting" and talked of "untold damage Boris Johnson will to do our country over the next five years".

He continued by saying Labour must "rebuild and fast" including restoring trust in the party.

Sir Keir's Remain stance was blamed by some of Mr Corbyn's allies for the party's disastrous results in the election, but he will urge members not to lurch to the right, saying the case for a "bold and radical" Labour government is as important as ever.

The human rights lawyer, who was made Queen's Counsel in 2002 and served of head of the Crown Prosecution Service, accepted a knighthood in 2014 and has struggled to shake off perceptions of privilege.

But he has cited his upbringing by his toolmaker father and nurse mother in Southwark, south London, in defence of his working class roots. He was also named after Labour's founder Keir Hardie.

He became MP for Holborn and St Pancras in 2015.

In a campaign film released on Saturday evening, Sir Keir highlighted his work in the Stephen Lawrence campaign, with Baroness Lawrence calling him "instrumental" in getting justice for her murdered son.

His work with the National Union of Mineworkers and in the McLibel case against McDonald's is also highlighted.

Critics of Sir Keir have been concerned he is seen as too much of a Londoner, but that does not appear to have affected his polling in December, which showed he would take the final round of voting with 61%.

Wigan MP Ms Nandy began her campaign in her constituency on Saturday, calling for a change to Mr Corbyn's approach.

She said: "We need a different sort of leadership that helps to root us back in every community across the UK, turns us back into a real movement and real force, driven from the ground up so that we can win people's trust back."

Meanwhile Ms Phillips visited Bury North, which the Tories picked up in the 12 December election, to meet former supporters of the party.

Senior Labour MP David Lammy responded to the numerous calls to run in the leadership campaign by ruling himself out, suggesting he was not the person to unite the "vociferous factions".