Clive Lewis pulls out of Labour leadership race with five contenders left

Labour leadership contenders Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy, Emily Thornberry and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

Labour leadership contenders Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy, Emily Thornberry and Rebecca Long-Bailey. Photograph: PA/TNE. - Credit: Archant

Clive Lewis has abandoned his bid to become Labour leader, after acknowledging he could not get the required support from his fellow MPs.

With five nominations, he was still 17 short of the 22 backers he needed to move to the next stage, and said he decided to step out so that his supporters could back others instead.

The remaining five candidates have secured the necessary nominations - with Emily Thornberry reportedly receiving her 22nd backer just minutes before the deadline of 2.30pm on Monday.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer, and Thornberry will all now go through.

Prior to stepping aside, Lewis said: "At this stage, it's clear that I won't get on the ballot.

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"So, I'm standing aside in the spirit of pluralism, diversity and generosity that I've promoted throughout this campaign, so that those who have supported me can recast their nominations."

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband said he had nominated Sir Keir as the best candidate to "deliver 21st century socialism", and deputy leadership candidate Angela Rayner for having "an ability to inspire our party and movement".

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Three more candidates have also succeeded in being nominated as deputy leader, with Rosena Allin-Khan, Richard Burgon and Dawn Butler all reaching 22 nominations before the deadline.

They join shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and Ian Murray in progressing to the next round.

In both contests, candidates now need the nominations of 33 local constituency parties or three Labour affiliates, including at least two trade unions, to enter the final postal ballot of party members and registered supporters.

Over the weekend, the left-wing activist group Momentum, which helped propel Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership in 2015, said it was recommending support for Corbyn loyalist Long-Bailey, and Rayner.

It will now consult its members to ask if they agree with those recommendations with two yes/no questions.

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