Rayner expected to back Long Bailey for Labour leadership despite ‘Continuity Corbyn’ jibe

Sources close to Ms Rayner she had only ever discussed entering the deputy leadership contest and would never stand against Ms Long Bailey or refuse to endorse her bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn. Announcing she was considering a leadership bid in The Guardian, the shadow business secretary blamed Labour’s ”compromise solution” on Brexit – as well as a lack of trust among voters – for its humiliating general election defeat.

But she has been branded “Continuity Corbyn” by long-suffering party members dismayed by her apparent determination to stick to his hard left-policies despite Labour’s worst general election humiliation since 1935 earlier this month.

The 40-year-old lawyer described the party’s high-spending election manifesto as a “transformative agenda” and claimed she wanted to win back traditional Labour voters who switched to the Tories by championing “progressive patriotism”.

But in comments seen as an attempt to put some distance between herself and Mr Corbyn, she said: “From ex-miners in Blythe Valley to migrant cleaners in Brixton, from small businesses in Stoke-on-Trent to the self-employed in Salford, we have to unite our communities.

“Britain has a long history of patriotism rooted in working life, built upon unity and pride in the common interests and shared life of everyone.

“To win we must revive this progressive patriotism and solidarity in a form fit for modern Britain.”

Writing in The Guardian, she said Labour’s policy on Britain’s EU membership “satisfied too few”, but insisted the party’s policy agenda was popular.

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The Salford and Eccles MP said: “We didn’t lose because of our commitment to scrap universal credit, invest in public services or abolish tuition fees.”

She claimed Labour “can win again” but said the party must first “come together” as she backed Ms Rayner for the role of deputy leader.

She said: “We are strongest when we stand together as a pluralist Labour family.

She also suggested Labour had further to go in giving its members control of the party,

She said: “Our promise to democratise society will ring hollow if we can’t even democratise our own party.”

Despite not having formally declared her candidacy, Ms Long Bailey is seen as a frontrunner in the contest, with her main rivals expected to include shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis are the only two to have officially declared their candidacy.

Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery is also reportedly considering a bid, with a spokesman telling the Daily Mirror he was “seriously considering all of his options at present”.

Bookmaker Coral has Sir Keir as favourite with odds of 7-4.

Ms Long Bailey is the 5-2 second favourite, with Ms Nandy and Yvette Cooper next in the betting at 5-1.


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