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‘Give me a chance’: Emily Thornberry in last-ditch appeal to Labour members

Emily Thornberry has made an urgent plea for nominations as she faces the possibility of being knocked out of the race to become Labour’s next leader.

The shadow foreign secretary made a lengthy appeal to party members on Sunday, arguing that she “raises the game” of the other candidates and asking twice for members to “give me a chance” and “get on and nominate me”.

She is the only one of the four remaining candidates who has not yet makemade it on to the ballot paper, with 14 February the final date for nominations.

The others – Sir Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey – have received support from affiliated organisations including major trade unions to guarantee that their names go before members.

Keir Starmer

Ambitious former director of public prosecutions has led the charge for remain in the shadow cabinet. He was instrumental in shifting Labour’s position towards backing a second referendum

Pitch Launched his campaign by highlighting how he has stood up for leftwing causes as a campaigning lawyer, and unveiled the slogan “Another Future is Possible”, arguing “Labour can win again if we make the moral case for socialism

At a leadership hustings in Cardiff, Thornberry told party members: “I may be an excellent candidate but I am yet to get on the ballot. And that’s the truth.

“I am the most experienced of the candidates. I have had seven years doing frontbench jobs and I did two years shadowing Boris Johnson and I tore him to pieces every time.

“Why don’t we give me a chance to be involved on this debate? But I can’t do that if unless you nominate me. So, please, can you just get on and do it? Because we should have a debate that has the widest possible selection for members.”

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Referring to the other candidates, she said: “Given my foreign policy experience, given my security experience, I think I raise their game.

“We should make sure our 600,000 members have a choice between four excellent candidates. Why are we cutting it down to three? So please, just get on with it, would you? Would you just get on and nominate me? I mean, really,” she said to applause.

• The “red wall” was a huge block of Labour-voting constituencies stretching from north Wales into Merseyside, through Greater Manchester along the Midlands and up to the north-east. The origin of the term is unclear but some believe it was first used in 2019.

•  Thirty-three Labour leaders spoke to the Guardian and all but three supported Sir Keir Starmer or Lisa Nandy to become the party’s next leader. All of the 33 local authority areas voted for Brexit in 2016.

• Of those who would disclose their least favourite candidate, all but two said Rebecca Long-Bailey. The other votes were for Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry.

• Labour leaders in six of the 10 longest-held Labour seats that fell to the Tories said they were backing Starmer or Nandy. They are the Labour leaders in Rotherham, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Wigan, Bassetlaw, North East Lincolnshire and Bolsover. The other four leaders had not responded to requests for comment.

Thornberry has not received any nominations from unions or other affiliated bodies, and needs 33 constituency Labour party nominations, but so far has only four.

Of the 650 CLPs available, Long-Bailey has 33 nominations, Nandy has 31 and Starmer 88.

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Earlier, the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, confirmed that he would be supporting Long-Bailey to be the next leader of the party, with Richard Burgon as deputy.

“I’ve made it clear I support Becky [Long-Bailey] and Richard Burgon, they’re the nature of my politics, and Becky was my number two if you remember in the Treasury team for quite a while.

“She’s brilliant and I think she’s that voice that we need, that northern voice, a woman’s voice as well. However, look at all the candidates, they’re terrific, what a fantastic new generation that’s coming forward. Any one of them will be a superb prime minister.”

On the deputy leader race, McDonnell said that the politics of Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, “are more like mine”, but, referring to the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, he said he had “praised her to the hilt”.

He hoped too that Dawn Butler, the shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, got on the ballot paper, saying: “I think it would be really good to have Dawn’s voice there, a black woman representing a section of the party as well. Let’s give the members a choice.”


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