Nandy, Long-Bailey, Phillips and Starmer all pass first hurdle of Labour leadership contest

Clive Lewis, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Keir Starmer. Photograph: PA/Archant.

Clive Lewis, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Keir Starmer. Photograph: PA/Archant. - Credit: Archant

Four candidates have reached the number of nominations from MPs and MEPs required to pass through the first round of the Labour leadership contest, the party has confirmed.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips have all secured the 22 backers required to continue in the competition.

The numbers, published by Labour, shows Starmer has stretched his lead over the course of 24 hours by securing 59 signatories - up from 41 on Wednesday.

Long-Bailey - branded Jeremy Corbyn's "continuity candidate" - into second place with 26 nominations, and Nandy and Phillips joint third with 22.

Wigan MP Nandy, who is said to have impressed at a hustings in front of MPs this week, said she was "proud" to have reached the threshold.

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She said: "I am so proud to have been nominated by a group of MPs representing different parts of the country and different traditions in our movement, which gives us the best possible mandate to go out and make our case to members that the Labour Party can pull together to give our country the radical, dynamic, compassionate Labour government the country deserves."

Lagging behind are shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who has seven supporters, and shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis with four.

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There have been no nominations yet for shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner who confirmed on Thursday that he was "considering" a late bid for the Labour leadership.

Nominations from members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) close on Monday.

Candidates who reach the magic number of 22 - 10% of Labour MPs and MEPs in the PLP, who total 212 - will then need to secure the backing of 5% of constituency Labour branches or at least three affiliate groups, two of which must be made up of trade unions.

Early front-runner Sir Keir has already been backed for the top role by Unison, the country's largest trade union.

In the deputy leader contest, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner continues to be out in front with 71 nominations - an increase on 45.

Ian Murray, Labour's only Scottish MP, has passed the second round with 29 backers.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon has 18 supporters, shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan is on 16, shadow equalities secretary Dawn Butler has 14 and Khalid Mahmood confirmed he has pulled out of the race, having previously had two nominations.

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