Emily Thornberry and Rebecca Long-Bailey launch rival Labour leadership bids

17 January 2020, 22:08 | Updated: 17 January 2020, 22:11

Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry have each launched their Labour leadership bids
Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry have each launched their Labour leadership bids. Picture: PA

The Labour leadership contest is heating up as Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry each launched their rival bids to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

Ms Thornberry said Labour faces a "long road back to power" as she launched her bid in Guildford

The shadow foreign secretary narrowly secured the nominations needed from Labour MPs on Monday, scraping through to fight to succeed Jeremy Corbyn at the helm of the party.

The leadership contest comes fresh off the heels of the party's worst general election defeat since 1935, in which 80 MPs were voted out of the Opposition benches with many of the seats being handed over to the Tories.

Speaking at the launch in her home town of Guildford, Ms Thornberry said: "In my 42 years as a member of the Labour Party, there is no fight or campaign our movement has waged where I have not been on the frontline.

"And since coming to Parliament 15 years ago, I've also been on the frontline in the fights against climate change, Universal Credit, and anti-abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

Emily Thornberry has officially her bid to be the next Labour leader
Emily Thornberry has officially her bid to be the next Labour leader. Picture: PA
Ms Thornberry launched her bid in Guildford
Ms Thornberry launched her bid in Guildford. Picture: PA

"I've led the charge as shadow foreign secretary against Donald Trump and the war in Yemen.

"And in the two years I shadowed Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, I showed him up every time for the lying, reckless charlatan that he is."

Ms Long-Bailey launched her bid to be leader in Manchester, vowing to "shake up" the way Government works and put power into the hands of voters.

Ms Long-Bailey was handed a significant boost yesterday afternoon with campaign group Momentum throwing its support behind her.

She promised to end the "gentlemen's club of politics" by devolving power out of Westminster, while pledging to introduce a "Green New Deal" that unites Labour heartlands.

"Where I grew up, Westminster, even London, felt like a million miles away," she said.

Ms Long-Bailey pictured at her launch
Ms Long-Bailey pictured at her launch. Picture: PA
Ms Long-Bailey was handed a significant boost yesterday afternoon with Momentum saying they would back her
Ms Long-Bailey was handed a significant boost yesterday afternoon with Momentum saying they would back her. Picture: PA

"The story of the last few years is that many people feel there is something wrong with their laws being drafted hundreds of miles away by a distant and largely unaccountable bureaucratic elite in Brussels.

"But I'll be honest, Westminster didn't feel much closer, and it still doesn't today.

"That's why I want to shake up the way Government works and deliver a clear message to voters: we will put power where it belongs - in your hands.

"The British state needs a seismic shock, to prise it open at all levels to the people - their knowledge, their skills, their demands."

Ms Long-Bailey added "proper democracy" takes power away from the "offshore bank account and places it on the ballot paper, so workers can have more and chief executives less, and we can tackle the climate crisis with a Green New Deal that unites all of Labour's heartlands".

"We will end the gentlemen's club of politics and we will be setting out plans to go further by devolving power out of Westminster to a regional and local level."

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