Jeremy Corbyn has announced that he will step down as Labour leader following the party’s humiliating general election defeat.
Labour has won its lowest number of seats since 1935, with the Conservatives on course to win a majority of between 78 and 82, reports Sky News.
“I want to also make it clear that I will not lead the party in any future general election campaign,” Corbyn told supporters his Islington North seat after being re-elected.
Here are the front runners to replace him, and the latest odds for each:
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Sir Keir Starmer 2/1
As Labour’s Brexit spokesperson, Starmer has become one of the most visible figures in Corbyn’s top team. A former director of public prosecutions, Starmer has been credited with holding the Try government to account over its handling of Brexit negotiations.
The outspoken Remainer has held his Holborn and St Pancras seat since 2015, and was “instrumental in shifting Labour’s position towards backing a second Brexit referendum”, says The Guardian – although that policy clearly didn’t play well for the party on a national level.
Unlike many of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, Starmer does not have a history on the hard-left and many believe he would drag the party back to the centre.
He has long held aspirations for the top job, and after the disaster of this election, Labour may be in the mood for a knighted, middle-class, Oxbridge-educated leader to take on Boris Johnson.
Rebecca Long-Bailey 4/1
The shadow business secretary and MP for Salford and Eccles ticks many of the boxes for a Labour leader. She is in her late 30s, female and from a northern constituency with a hefty majority.
She is also remarkably loyal to the current leftist Labour leadership and as such is aligned with the majority of party members. Amid previous talk of a split in the party, she was one of a number of senior shadow frontbenchers, along with John McDonnell and Angela Rayner, to sign an online “loyalty pledge”.
Long-Bailey stood in for Corbyn at PMQs in June and was long rumoured to be his preferred successor, but her star has waned somewhat over the past year. Some think she lacks the necessary experience to lead the party at this difficult time and may instead be one to watch further down the line.
Emily Thornberry 12/1
The shadow foreign secretary has won praise for her performances filling in for Corbyn at PMQs and for her straight-talking media appearances. A Corbyn loyalist, she has enjoyed strong support from more left-wing party members and, importantly, many of the unions.
However, Thornberry hails from a similar north London constituency to Corbyn and her Remain stance could make it harder for her to connect with working-class voters. Her infamous tweet during the Rochester and Strood by-election campaign in 2014 – in which she appeared to mock a terraced house draped with an English flag and a white van parked outside – may come back to haunt her too.
Accepting victory in her Islington South and Finsbury seat amid widespread Labour losses, she said: “The real fight has to begin now.”
Jess Phillips 8/1
The Birmingham Yardley MP “is a well-known voice for the Labour centrists, but what she has in name recognition, she lacks in support from the largely left-wing party membership”, says i news.
Getting nominated for the leadership should be no problem for Phillips, but winning over the left of her party to secure the top job might be a struggle.
Following last night’s disastrous results, she hinted that she would be keen on entering the leadership race, saying: “If people trust me then yes I will take a role in rebuilding.”
She added: “I am very emotional, not just for me or the Labour Party, I’m emotional for the people the Labour Party was invented to help.”
Angela Rayner 10/1
A long-time Corbyn devotee, Rayner shares her mentor’s radical position on many issues.
Outspoken yet loyal, she has led the charge against alleged sexism and bullying in the party, and has a gripping life story: she was pregnant when she left school at the age of 16 without any qualifications after becoming pregnant.
Rayner’s 2019 party conference speech advocating for the nationalisation of private schools gave her media profile another boost, as have her calls for an NHS-style National Education Service and better teachers’ salaries.
She is regarded as an accomplished public speaker, and “some senior Conservatives say they would fear her as an adversary”, according to The Guardian.
Clive Lewis 28/1
The former Army officer-turned-politician was regarded as a leadership contender before resigning as shadow business secretary in 2017, after refusing to obey the party’s three-line whip to vote for the bill allowing Theresa May to trigger Article 50.
He made headlines at the 2019 Labour conference by suggesting that Corbyn should stand down Labour candidates in certain seats to help other parties defeat the Conservatives, says BuzzFeed News.
Lewis gave the example of Richmond Park, where Conservative Zac Goldsmith beat the Lib Dem candidate by just 45 votes in the 2017 general election. “We could have stopped that Tory going into Parliament,” Lewis said.
As it happens, “that Tory” has been booted out in the 2019 election, with Goldsmith replaced by the Liberal Democrats’ Sarah Olney, who won a large 7,766-vote majority.
Yvette Cooper 14/1
The former cabinet minister and leadership contender has a wealth of experience in front-line British politics. Cooper has won praise for her Commons performances during the Brexit debates and was reportedly being lined up as a possible replacement for Corbyn following the 2017 election.
She retains strong support from MPs and was described as the “real leader of the opposition” by some in Westminster earlier this year when she helped inflict defeats on then-prime minister May, says The Telegraph.
However, as one of the more centrist contenders for the leadership, Cooper may be too closely associated with the Blair and Brown eras.
On other hand, “of the more moderate Labour MPs, she’s the most oven-ready option”, says the i news site.
Sadiq Khan 80/1
The London mayor and former Tooting MP is one of the few Labour politicians in positions of real power.
As the son of a London bus driver, the community lawyer-turned-politician has a strong personal story, but he has been accused of political expediency in his run for the London mayor’s job, tracking left to secure the nominations before tracking right to win the wider vote.
He also clashed repeatedly with Corbyn before the 2017 election, leading some to suggest Khan was trying to position himself to take over.
A 2018 GQ feature suggested that Khan was “poised to sidestep the internecine struggles and lead his party’s return from the shadows”.
“Perhaps not today – nor even before the next election – but for Britain’s most patient politician, the keys to No. 10 are waiting,” the magazine added.