Barry Gardiner claims he could win a general election as he mulls last minute Labour leadership bid
Barry Gardiner claims he could win a general election as he continues to consider whether to run for the Labour leadership.
The Shadow International Trade Secretary said he had the "dynamism" to win over the country as he confirmed he was still considering making a last minute entry to the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Gardiner's surprise announcement would make him the seventh MP vying for the top job, alongside fellow frontbenchers Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long Bailey and Emily Thornberry.
But speaking to the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, the Brent North MP said he would not move forward with his bid until he had confirmed he had the support of 22 Labour MPs, allowing him to progress to the next stage of the contest when nominations close on Monday.
"It is very late now to be entering this race, and if I do it is because I want to energise it, I want to be sure it gets the kind of dynamism into the debate that it needs," he said.
"What I will do, if I know I can secure the 22 votes necessary in order to go forward to the next stage then I will stand, but until I have that assurance from my colleagues then I am not going to go any further than considering it at the moment."
Setting out his pitch for the top job, he added: "I can win a general election...I am setting out what I believe is the key reason that colleagues, many of whom have spoken to me and encouraged me to stand... and they believe I have the ability to communicate, to bring that dynamism of debate that is necessary in order to go out to the country.
"The key thing is we have to win the keys to Downing Street. We have to become a Labour government. We have got to stop talking to ourselves and start talking to the country."
Meanwhile, Mr Gardiner also issued a denial that he had been urged to stand by Unite boss Len McCluskey over concerns about Rebacca Long Bailey's leadership bid.
Speaking on Wednesday, the senior union figure said reports he was considering the Corbyn-ally as a replacement to Rebecca Long Bailey were "utter nonsense" as he claimed he had not raised concerns about any of the leadership candidate's campaigns.
But speaking from Abu Dhabi, where he is attending a climate conference, Mr Gardiner added: "Let me be very clear, he did not phone me, he did not ask me to stand, nor indeed did anybody else on his behalf, but I would say of course, Len, if you are watching I'd be very pleased to have a phone call from you.
"I'd like to talk through with you how we improve employment rights in this country, how we can have safer standards at work, all of the things we care about, both of us, in creating a good and dynamic economy, and I would of course love to have your support."