Rebecca Long-Bailey sets out her leadership pitch with no mention of Brexit

PUBLISHED: 08:11 07 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:13 07 January 2020

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey speaking during the launch of the Labour party manifesto in Birmingham. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA.

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey speaking during the launch of the Labour party manifesto in Birmingham. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has set out her stall to become Labour leader, without a reference to one of the biggest issues of the day.

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With nominations due to open on Tuesday, Long-Bailey - favourite of the Labour left - said she could be trusted to maintain "our socialist agenda".

Her comments will be seen as a thinly veiled swipe at shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, who has been keen to stress his left-wing credentials despite being seen to come from a more centrist tradition.

Writing in the Tribune magazine, she said: "Many candidates in the leadership election say they will not return to the triangulation and Tory-lite policies that held our party back before Jeremy.

"But we need a leader that can be trusted with our socialist agenda. A leader who is totally committed to the policies and has the political backbone to defend them.

"We need a proud socialist to lead the Labour Party, driven by their principles and an unwavering determination to see democratic socialism in our lifetime.

"For all of these reasons and more, I have decided to stand for election to become the next leader of our party."

Party chairman Ian Lavery immediately announced he would not be standing and would be backing Long-Bailey.

"We must ensure that we never again are seen to be taking working class communities for granted or to write them off as ignorant or ill-educated," he said in another apparent jibe at pro-Remain contenders.

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