Ballots open in race to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader

24 February 2020, 07:30

The three Labour leadership candidates (l-r) Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer
The three Labour leadership candidates (l-r) Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Labour members will start voting to replace Jeremy Corbyn as the party seeks to recover from its historic general election defeat.

Ballots open today as party members decide between Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.

Paid party members and supporters who have joined up for a fee will start to receive their voting slips today as the party sends out batches via email and the traditional post.

The race for the deputy leader role is also on between Angela Rayner, Dawn Butler, Ian Murray, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Richard Burgon.

On Sunday all three leadership candidates said they would open up roles in their shadow cabinet to those who did not take the top job.

Sir Keir is seen as the frontrunner
Sir Keir is seen as the frontrunner. Picture: PA

Sir Keir, the shadow Brexit secretary seen as a clear frontrunner, said at a hustings in Durham that he would offer senior roles to both of his opponents if he won.

"I would happily offer both these candidates a top job in the shadow cabinet and I'd happily serve them if they wanted me to do the same," he said.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary who has struggled in the polls since being seen as an early favourite, said she would accept a job in either of their shadow cabinets and offer them both roles.

"I would, I think they're both brilliant," the shadow business secretary said. "And I would do whatever I was asked and whatever it takes to make sure, if I didn't become leader, to make sure we were elected as the next Labour government."

Rebecca Long-Bailey was seen as an early favourite
Rebecca Long-Bailey was seen as an early favourite. Picture: PA

Wigan MP Ms Nandy also praised her opponents in confirming she would give them key roles.

"I like both of these people, I respect them. I would want them in my shadow cabinet doing big jobs," she said. "But I would equally be happy to serve alongside them in whatever role they chose to give me."

Lisa Nandy praised her opponents
Lisa Nandy praised her opponents. Picture: PA

The leadership hopefuls have almost six weeks to gain the support of Labour members before the ballot closes.

The winners are set to be named on April 4 before taking up the roles immediately.