Jeremy Corbyn will quit as Labour Party leader over the coming weeks after overseeing the party’s worst general election performance in 35 years. Labour won just 203 seats and was crushed by Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in what had been predicted to be one of the closest-fought general elections in recent British political history. Following the humiliating defeat, Mr Corbyn said: “I will discuss with our party to ensure there is a process of reflection on this result and on the policies that the party will take going forward.
“And I will lead the party during that period to ensure that discussion takes place and we move on into the future.”
Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Yvette Cooper, Jess Phillips, Clive Lewis, Angela Rayner and Emily Thornberry are all in the running to be the next Labour leader and lead the party to the 2024 general election.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Ms Long-Bailey, who is a new generation of MPs on the left of Labour and is a close ally of Mr Corbyn, would likely have the backing of those currently in charge of the party.
Labour members are largely on the left of the party and make up most of those who get to vote for the next leader, so it could in theory be a straightforward race for Ms Long-Bailey.
Labour Party leader: Political experts have revealed which candidate Boris Johnson will fear most
Labour Party leader: Jeremy Corbyn oversaw a disastrous general election for the party
But political experts have warned the leadership candidate Prime Minister Mr Johnson should fear most is Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer.
The Remainer is seen as the centrist candidate and is hotly tipped as both a good communicator with the British public and experienced negotiator, having been central to Labour’s talks with the EU over an alternative Brexit deal during 2019.
Dr Steve McCabe, associate professor and senior fellow at the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University, told Express.co.uk: “Sir Keir Starmer looks sensible, and as a former Director of Public Prosecutions, who may be criticised for being too pro-Remain for those who believed in Leave and was sidelined during the campaign, will be able to present a more reasonable and rationally-argued case for social democracy and equality as opposed to Corbyn’s far left beliefs.
“Rebecca Long-Bailey would be ‘continuity’ Corbyn and most likely to stick with his ideology and pledges made in the 2019 manifesto. Starmer would prove much more palatable than Corbyn, as would Yvette Cooper.
Labour Party leader: Boris Johnson’s Conservatives crushed Jeremy Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in the general election
“Whoever takes over has to show that they are willing to be different and ditch the overt socialism that was being proposed by Corbyn.
Alistair Jones, principal politics lecturer at De Montfort University in Leicester believes Sir Keir and Ms Long-Bailey have the “ability to engage with the public”, while both have the “attention to detail which is lacking in Boris Johnson and other senior members of the Conservative Party”.
Mr Jones said: “The Conservatives will fear Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey the most as both have the ability to engage with the public.
“Starmer has been particularly effective in debating Brexit. Long-Bailey has also been very prominent in campaigning.
Labour Party in CHAOS: Why did Labour lose the red wall? [INTERVIEW]
Former Labour MP Pidcock savaged by her own party as she blames Blair [COMMENT]
Labour humiliation: Dossier reveals shocking extent of Corbyn delusion [ANALYSIS]
Labour Party leader: Sir Keir Starmer is the bookies favourite to take over from Jeremy Corbyn
Labour Party leader: Rebecca Long-Bailey has also been tipped to take over from Jeremy Corbyn
“They both have an attention to detail which is lacking in Boris Johnson and other senior members of the Conservative Party.
“Political point scoring, in which Corbyn refused to participate, will see some of the lustre taken off the Johnson victory very quickly. Both Starmer and Long-Bailey can be very effective in doing so.”
But Mr Jones warned Sir Keir might face an uphill task as he could struggle in his attempts to win back voters in Labour’s traditional heartlands.
He added: “If Starmer or Long-Bailey become leader, they will need to show how Labour is still a broad church party.
Labour Party leader: The Tories scored a resounding victory in the general election
“They do not need to row back too much from the Corbyn agenda, but they do need to pull the right of the party in behind them.
But two political experts have warned much of the focus will be on whether Mr Johnson can deliver on his general election pledges, with the new Labour leader waiting to pounce on any big slip-ups.
They argue many voters “made it clear that they have lent their votes to the Conservatives and the electorate is very volatile”.
Kostas Maronitis, a lecturer in politics and international relations at Leeds Trinity University, told Express.co.uk: “While Starmer is seen as a London-centric Remainer, his latest media interventions signal proximity to socialist values and affection towards Labour activists and Momentum members.
Labour Party leader: Boris Johnson will be under pressure to deliver on his general election pledges
“The new electoral coalition established by the Tory majority Government is fragile and heavily depends on how “Get Brexit Done” will be done. As soon as Brexit recedes into the political background the Tories will have to move to a political territory traditionally dominated by Labour.
“If the next Labour leader can succeed where Corbyn failed, and convince voters that Labour pledges can be implemented, then the Conservatives should worry about losing votes.”
University of Warwick politics professor Wyn Grant added: “Whether any Labour leader can win votes from the Tories depends in large part on if the Conservatives are able to deliver on their promises.
“Many voters have made it clear that they have lent their votes to the Conservatives and the electorate is very volatile.”