Labour leadership race: Emily Thornberry reaches next round as Clive Lewis drops out

13 January 2020, 14:00

Clive Lewis failed to garner enough support while Emily Thornberry scraped past the threshold
Clive Lewis failed to garner enough support while Emily Thornberry scraped past the threshold. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Emily Thornberry has secured enough nominations to progress to the next round of the Labour leadership race as rival candidate Clive Lewis pulled out of the contest.

The MP for Islington South and Finsbury scraped past the 22-nomination threshold, with 23 supporters, just minutes before the 2.30pm deadline.

Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips have already secured enough support to progress to the next stage of the contest.

Mr Lewis, MP for Norwich South, withdrew from the race after failing to reach secure enough support.

In a statement, he said: "At this stage, it's clear that I won't get on the ballot.

"So, I'm standing aside in the spirit of pluralism, diversity and generosity that I've promoted throughout this campaign, so that those who have supported me can recast their nominations.

"For me, this election was never just about the Labour leadership but about our survival as a political movement and mapping our path to power.

"Whilst I’m disappointed not to have progressed further, I’m proud to have led the debate on progressive alliances, electoral reform, the crisis in democracy, democracy in our party, diversity & climate change. These issues need to be tackled head on if we are to stay relevant.

"Leadership for me is about not only saying what people want to hear but arguing a case that you think is right. I’m stand my conviction that these are the ideas of the future.

"Heartfelt thanks to everyone who’s supported me this far. But know my contribution to this election isn’t over. I’m going to continue to fight, inside and outside of the Labour Party, to ensure our future looks very different from our past.

"I now throw down the gauntlet to the other candidates and ask if they are brave enough, strong enough, bold enough, to take forward some of the issues in my manifesto.

"In the coming weeks, I’ll be watching their responses closely before deciding who to support."

Those who qualify in the two contests then need to get the nominations of 33 local constituency parties or three Labour affiliates, including at least two trade unions, to enter the final postal ballot of party members and registered supporters.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband said he had nominated Sir Keir as the best candidate to "deliver 21st century socialism", and deputy leadership candidate Angela Rayner for having "an ability to inspire our party and movement".

In the deputy leadership contest, Rosena Allin-Khan and Dawn Butler have become the latest candidates to gain enough nominations to go through to the next phase.

Dr Allin-Khan has 23 nominations, while Ms Butler has 29.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon also received 22 nominations less than half an hour before the deadline.

Ms Rayner, on 88 nominations, and Ian Murray on 34 had already passed the threshold.

Over the weekend, the left-wing activist group Momentum, which helped propel Mr Corbyn to the leadership in 2015, said it was recommending support for Ms Long-Bailey and Ms Rayner.

It will now ask its members whether they agree with the recommendations, with ballots, consisting of just two questions, to be sent out this week.