EXCL GMB union to urge its members to back Keir Starmer as well as Lisa Nandy
GMB members will be urged to back Keir Starmer as well as Lisa Nandy in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, PoliticsHome can reveal.
Senior officials at the powerful trade union decided to endorse Wigan MP Ms Nandy as their number one choice at a top-level meeting on Tuesday.
But it has now emerged that they also decided to recommend that their 600,000 members put Sir Keir down as their second preference on the ballot paper.
Under the "allternative vote" system used for the Labour leadership race, party members have to rank the candidates in order of preference.
If none of them gets 50% or more of first preferences in the first round, the candidate with the least drops out and their second preferences are distributed among those left in the race.
That means the GMB's recommendation - which will be sent out in election literature to its members - could prove pivotal.
The union's decision is also a blow for Rebecca Long-Bailey, as it reduces her chances of beating bookies' favourite Sir Keir.
A GMB spokesperson said: "GMB's executive overwhelmingly voted to nominate and support Lisa Nandy as the best candidate to be leader of the Labour Party at Tuesday's meeting.
"Our executive decided that when voting opens we will recommend GMB members give Lisa Nandy their first preference and Keir Starmer their second preference."
Both Sir Keir and Ms Nandy have made it through to the final round of the contest, having already received the backing of three affiliate bodies.
Rebecca Long-Bailey is expected to secure the backing of the Unite union on Friday, while Emily Thornberry is expected to need the support of at least 33 Constituency Labour Parties to get onto the final ballot paper.