The Final Countdown
Nominations for the Labour leadership are about to close
It’s deadline day in the Labour leadership race today, with candidates having until noon to submit the nominations they need to make the final round. With Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall already through, all eyes are on whether left-wing backbencher Jeremy Corbyn will get the 35 signatures from MPs he needs to advance. Several Labour figures have indicated they will help Corbyn make the contest to ensure the broadest possible debate, even though Corbyn has said he does not want “charity”.
The push to get the far-left Islington MP on the ballot came after Mary Creagh – a candidate from the right of the party – withdrew citing a lack of nominations. Creagh exited with a harsh attack on Ed Miliband’s attitude to business. The three mainstream candidates left in the race will echo Creagh’s argument in the coming contest, but couch it in more cautious rhetoric so as not to offend the instincts of many Labour members.
Elsewhere on the Labour side, MPs are organising campaigns for the impeding EU referendum. Around a third of the parliamentary party has signed up to a Labour Yes group in favour of staying in, while another much smaller group advocating withdrawal is also forming. Divisions still remain over how far Labour should campaign alongside pro-EU Conservatives, but initial signs are the party’s high command will tolerate a degree of internal debate on the vote.