Labour leadership final five: Starmer wins support of Labour MPs south west of the river

By Danielle Manning
January 14 2020, 17.00

Bookie’s favourite Sir Keir Starmer received the overwhelming backing of south west London Labour MPs in the race to decide the next leader of the party.

Of the five hopefuls battling to replace Jeremy Corbyn announced yesterday, MPs from the south west of the capital showed strongest support for the shadow Brexit secretary, with seven of his 88 nominations coming from MPs in the area.

Croydon North MP Steve Reed told South West Londoner today: “I’m backing Keir because Labour needs a leader who has the right values, the experience to put them into practice, and the credibility to win back the support Labour’s lost. 

“As one of the country’s leading human rights lawyers, Keir defended climate change protesters against global corporations, defended trade unionists against unscrupulous bosses, worked with the Lawrence family to get justice for their murdered son Stephen, and helped abolish the death penalty in countries in Africa and the Caribbean. 

“During the election, so many voters told me they couldn’t vote Labour because of our leader.

“When I asked who they would like to see as leader instead, Keir’s name came up time and time again, and that happened whether I was door-knocking here in Croydon or in seats we lost in the North of England.

“I’m convinced that if Labour wants to turn round this catastrophic defeat and win the next General Election, we must elect Keir Starmer as our next leader.”

On Monday Ladbrokes put Starmer’s odds as 1 to 3 to come out top when the contest ends on April 4 but all five candidates must first secure 5% backing from local constituency parties to be guaranteed a place on the final ballot.

Rebecca Long-Bailey had the second highest nominations of the final five candidates with 33, but her popularity was not reflected in south west London where she only garnered support from newly elected MP for Streatham Bell Riberio-Addy.

Jess Phillips received two nominations from Labour colleagues in the south west of the capital, Ruth Cadbury and Siobhain McDonagh, from her total of 23.

Siobhain McDonagh told the South West Londoner this week that the Birmingham Yardley MP is a ‘breath of fresh air’ who is ‘completely honest and tells you what she thinks’.

She said: “We need a leader who can help us climb back to some sort of trust and that requires honesty and good communication skills. Jess has those skills in bucket-loads.’’

She added: “We will be in a better position than we are currently if Keir Starmer or Emily Thornberry win the leadership.

Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan secured enough support to make it to the next stage of the deputy Labour leadership contest, with Putney’s Fleur Anderson giving her nomination to the A+E doctor.

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner received the most support for deputy, joining Dawn Butler, Ian Murray and John Burgon in the race.

The final five: Who did your south west London MPs back?

Keir Starmer (89 total nominations/ 7 from SWL)

• Putney’s Fleur Anderson joined Croydon North MP Steve Reed and Croydon Central’s Sarah Jones in supporting the barrister. Vauxhall’s MP Florence Eshalomi and Battersea’s Marsha De Cordova also nominated Starmer, alongside MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, Helen Hayes, and Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston.

Rebecca Long-Bailey (33 total nominations/ 1 from SWL)

• Streatham MP Bell Riberio-Addy nominated the second favourite for Labour Leader. Long-Bailey has been called a ‘continuity Corbyn’ and seems to be Starmer’s closest competition.

Lisa Nandy (31 total nominations/ 0 from SWL)

• Nandy’s interest in ‘left behind’ towns has spawned numerous internet memes dubbing her a ‘town-lover’. The MP for Wigan is third favourite to lead Her Majesty’s Opposition.

Jess Phillips (23 total nominations/ 2 from SWL)

• The backbencher, who once said she would knife Jeremy Corbyn in the front rather than the back, received nominations from Ruth Cadbury MP and Siobhain McDonagh MP.

Emily Thornberry (23 total nominations/ 0 from SWL)

•  The shadow foreign secretary managed to secure the 22 nominations needed to make the ballot in the nick of time, just ten minutes before the deadline. None of them came from Labour MPs in south west London.

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