Early voting begun on 24th February and voting concludes at noon on Thursday 2nd April. Results will be announced on Saturday 4th April.
Three candidates are left standing after a few others failed to meet the threshold of support from Labour MPs and/or local party support. The three are Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.
Starmer is considered the favorite. He has considerable support within the party, from unions and has the backing of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He embraces parts of Corbyn’s agenda, and in other areas embraces the principles of the agenda but not as willing to go as far with it as Corbyn did. It seems he is the man deemed as being able to reach out to both the socialist and moderate wing.
Long-Bailey is seen as the ideological successor for Jeremy Corbyn by his wing of the party and was earmarked as a future leader, albeit not this soon. However one interesting point about her is that she has tried to make the connection of socialist/left wing economic populism as ‘progressive patriotism’. Labour lost working class areas in 2019. Areas they have held for sixty, seventy, eighty, even ninety years. At the core of this was Brexit of course. She made the case that patriotism shouldn’t be left for nationalist groups to hijack but that the left can tap into that feeling. The ultimate example being when the British people booted Churchill out of office in a landslide in the 1945 election a few months after the war ended. And instead elected a socialist Clement Attlee because he had a vision for the common man. His government established the NHS.
Nandy holds many left-wing positions and indeed embraces several of Corbyn’s positions. She has been a critic of the Tony Blair years as shifting the party to neoliberalism, supported Corbyn in 2015 and worked for him in a shadow cabinet role. However she was one of many shadow cabinet officials who resigned in 2016 over a lack of confidence in his leadership of the party. Specifically the factions that were being waged as a battle between hardcore Corbyn people vs the rest. The rest were still Labour voters. But they had different views of how things ought to be formulated. Yet they were singled out, smeared and in some cases purged. She felt that was not healthy for the party and when Corbyn received a vote of no confidence from party MPs, a leadership challenge was called, and Nandy worked on the campaign of Corbyn’s challenger. A move his hardcore supporters haven’t forgotten.
With Starmer’s likely election, the Conservative Party will maintain the feather in the cap of having elected female leaders. That will disappoint many. Apart from that there is another factor on the broader scale: Corbynism won’t die. As evidenced by that all three candidates embrace his agenda to differing extents. An agenda that made him a backbencher and rebel under the only elected Labour Prime Minister in four decades. But one which is popular among young people and generated record membership under his watch. Brexit is done. The bickering, the posturing, the debates and the votes. It was something Corbyn despite his best efforts could not ignore nor overcome. The ramifications of it we’ll have to wait and see. The party will have to rebuild after its biggest electoral hammering for nearly ninety years. How they do it will be fascinating.
I think it’ll be interesting to see Starmer as leader. The U.K. is going to be in one hell of an economic nightmare and I think the Corbyn agenda will be as dead as the closed Shoreditch coffeehouses where everyone worshipped Corbyn.
And I think the real answer is somewhere between these two extremes. I can’t see why the current government will fall much before its five-year term finishes as that would require a massive Tory rebellion (in order to achieve the 2/3 majority in parliament needed to force an earlier election). It’s more likely that the government would themselves call an early election, in the hope of extending its term/power, but lose its majority after a disastrous campaign. But having been burned by that recently, that seems unlikely too.
On the other hand, the Labour party is far from finished. People were saying that about the Tory party only 6 months ago. Starmer seems the most likely of the current candidates to make them electable again, and there could well be a swing back to the left at the next election.
I don’t know why you think that. The same was said in the 80s. All it needs is a disastrous Tory government (hey, look!) and a smart, prime ministerial-looking Labour Leader which more centrist views (which Starmer is) and things could turn around very quickly. The electorate are fickle like that.
Agree with Dead Cat ETA: and SanVito
The only way is up from here.
I know it sounds odd considering his party just won a thumping majority, but Boris is extremely unpopular, and it’s exceptionally hard to find anyone who thinks he has the characteristics of a leader (though he has built some respect by breaking the deadlock on Brexit).
And right now with coronavirus being handled poorly, it’s pretty close to an open goal.
Yes the next election is years away of course and anything could happen in that time.
The respect he has built by breaking the deadlock on Brexit will dissipate pretty quickly if the Brexit he leads the UK into turns out to be screamingly painful. People will look back fondly at the deadlock and wonder why anyone ever thought breaking it was a good idea.
But in fact I think what he acheived last year will almost certainly be eclipsed by what he acheives, or fails to acheive, this year. The CV-19 pandemic and how it was handled will be the dominant political issue for several years.
Depends how you define the agenda. Reality has forced the Tories to tear up no end of their key shibboleths, as they spend like a drunken sailor to pour funds to the NHS, to provide income guarantees and take over running the railways in a weekend, not to mention the change in the government"s rhetorical/“mood music”. That much of a core (not exclusively Corbyn, I hold no brief for him as a thinker or leader) Labour agenda has been won.
The next question will be, what of the exceptional public spending and the new emphasis on community and public service will continue once we’re into a more stable normality, and who’s going to pay what for it.
The next general election is scheduled for May 2024 and I think it’s unlikely we’ll see one before then. I fervently hope the national discourse is not talking about Brexit at that time. I suspect we will still be talking about the economic recovery from the impact of the Corona Virus.
Specific to the Labour Party leadership vote, I think it’s pointless to try to project which Labour candidate will be the most electable in four years. The next general election is going to be about Boris Johnson’s performance as PM. Labour should be thinking about what direction they want to go as a party, and which leadership candidate will take them there. They need to focus on redefining themselves, and getting the party in order. Whatever leader decision has been made, or is still being made, should be focused on the current state of the party, and not future election prospects.
I suspect the national political discourse will be a bitter and intractable argument over the extent to which the UK’s social and economic maliase is attributable to a badly-conceived and astonishingy badly-executed Brexit, versus the extent to which it is attributable to a grave and badly-handled pandemic.
The two go together for any political party, though
realistically, getting back into government is a two-parliament job, I agree.
The parallel questions as to the fall-out from Johnson’s Brexit and handling of the pandemic are more likely to convulse the Tories. They may be safe in office till 2024, but he may very well not be. But that’s a different thread.