Labour finally look to women for its next leader

By Alice Fuller
December 13 2019, 18.00

Jeremy Corbyn announced his imminent resignation as Labour party leader, but who will win the race to replace him?

Labour has had 22 leaders but the party has never been headed by a woman.

The Conservatives have seen two female leaders in Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, and Jo Swinson was the first woman to be elected as leader of the Lib Dems.

Sian Berry, Caroline Lucas and Natalie Bennett have all led the Green Party.

Women dominate the list of contenders for Corbyn’s replacement.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer are favourites to take over.

Both are 3/1 to succeed Corbyn according to Labrokes, with Yvette Cooper in third position at 8/1.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, currently 10/1, was tipped as a possible successor by Alastair Campbell.

He said in GQ Magazine that whoever comes after Corbyn “has got to be a woman.”

Laura Pidcock, who lost her seat to the Conservatives in North West Durham, also features on the bookies’ list at 12/1.

John McDonnell is next most likely with odds of 16/1.

Whoever takes over will be tasked with rebuilding the party after a disastrous night that saw them only gain one seat in the whole of the UK, Putney.

Ms Long-Bailey avoided the question of whether she would be keen to replace Mr Corbyn.

She said: “We will be having discussions within the party.

“Leading is certainly not something I’ve been thinking about and we will have to convene, look at the election, why we lost it, and determine a process going forward.

“It’s been a devastating night. It has been a very difficult campaign for everybody.”

Jess Phillips, another possible contender, said: “I don’t know what is going to happen next, but what I do know is that if we think this is just some personality contest at the top of the party, that that’s going to be the answer to rescue the single greatest vehicle for social change, then we will inevitably end up in a poor situation.

“So I’m not going to sit here and start some sort of election race or even demand that Jeremy Corbyn goes because the Labour Party was never just about Jeremy Corbyn.”

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