Rebecca Long-Bailey ‘considering’ Labour leadership run as other Corbyn allies eye bid

Rebecca Long-Bailey on the Andrew Marr show. Photograph: BBC.

Rebecca Long-Bailey on the Andrew Marr show. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

Close Corbyn ally Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed that she is considering a run at the Labour leadership.

Also looking over "options" is former union leader Ian Lavery, potentially tightening competition on the left of the party.

Long-Bailey set out her stall with a pledge to champion "progressive patriotism" in a piece for the Guardian, in which she called for the party to "come together" and to continue backing policies that proved popular, such as protecting the NHS and renationalising industries.

The former shadow business secretary, who backs Angela Rayner as deputy, is seen as the most prominent candidate to the left of the party.

But in a statement to the Mirror, former miners' union chief Ian Lavery also hinted he might stand.

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A spokesperson said: "Ian is optimistic about the challenges ahead and knows there is a lot of work to be done to unify the party.

"He has had a tremendous amount of support and is seriously considering all of his options at present."

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The party operates a list system for its leadership elections, so the move would not necessary split the votes further to the left of the party.

But Long-Bailey, currently considered the favourite, seems to be taking no chances with an opinion piece for the Guardian in which she said she seeks to unite the party broadly.

MORE: Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey being advised by Momentum founderShe blamed the party's "compromise solution" on Brexit, as well as a lack of trust among voters, for its crushing defeat at the general election.

Labour's Brexit policy "satisfied too few", she wrote, but insisted the party's policy agenda was popular.

"We didn't lose because of our commitment to scrap universal credit, invest in public services or abolish tuition fees," the Salford and Eccles MP said.

She claimed Labour "can win again" but said the party must first "come together".

"We are strongest when we stand together as a pluralist Labour family. That is why I'm not only considering standing to be leader, but also supporting Angela Rayner as deputy," she wrote.

"Leadership means leading a team, working with every part of our movement and using all our party's talents to fight the Conservatives at every turn and map Labour's route back to power. Millions woke up to a nightmare on December 13.

"It's our duty to make sure that doesn't happen again."

She also called for "progressive patriotism" and "solidarity" to unite working-class people.

"From ex-miners in Blythe Valley to migrant cleaners in Brixton, from small businesses in Stoke-on-Trent to the self-employed in Salford, we have to unite our communities," she wrote.

"Britain has a long history of patriotism rooted in working life, built upon unity and pride in the common interests and shared life of everyone.

"To win we must revive this progressive patriotism and solidarity in a form fit for modern Britain."

She also suggested Labour had further to go in giving its members control of the party, writing: "Our promise to democratise society will ring hollow if we can't even democratise our own party."

Other candidates expected to stand are Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy, while Clive Lewis and Emily Thornberry have officially announced they will run.

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