Labour Party chairman says Starmer should stand aside for Long-Bailey

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Hackney. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.

Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks to supporters at a campaign event in Hackney. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA Wire.

The Labour Party's chairman has called for Sir Keir Starmer to stand aside in the leadership race to allow a woman leader.

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Ian Lavery, introducing Rebecca Long-Bailey at her latest campaign event, called on her only male rival Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, to stand aside and let a woman win.

He urged: "We need a female leader of the Labour Party... Stand aside Keir."

Lavery's comments were seen as a call for Starmer to stand aside for Long-Bailey. a type of politics he defined as "Baileyism".

He said: "If we stand with Rebecca Long-Bailey, Baileyism, we'll have a leader who can take the fight to the Tories not in 2024 but in 2020. We've got a woman who is as strong as anyone within the party.

"She's got fantastic vision, she's got a fantastic history and a fantastic background, and she isn't frightened of anybody - she's not even frightened of me. And she is the right person for the job."

He later tweeted: "Is it so absurd to suggest that after a century of existence the Labour Party should have its first women party leader."

MORE: Who do you think should be the next Labour leader?

His comments baffled users of the social media network Twitter.

Iain Simpson asked: "The same Ian Lavery who wanted to run for leader a few days ago until he realised he had no support?"

"Given that you backed men for leader the last three times and considered standing yourself this time, I think the words morally bankrupt and hypocrite describe your position," said Malcolm Powers.

"Ian Lavery who, it turns out, nominated and backed Ed Miliband rather than Diane Abbott in 2010..." tweeted Patch Thompson.

"The conversion to radical feminism only a few weeks after strongly considering running himself is quite something," pondered David Skelton.

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