EXCL Gordon Brown backs Ian Murray's bid to become deputy Labour leader
Gordon Brown has thrown his weight behind Ian Murray's bid to become Labour's new deputy leader, PoliticsHome can reveal.
The former Prime Minister announced his endorsement in comments to Scientists for Labour, a group affiliated to the party and of which he is patron.
His backing is a huge boost for Mr Murray, Labour's only Scottish MP, as he tries to make it through to the final round of the deputy leadership contest.
Mr Brown, who led Labour for three years, said: "I know Ian Murray to have been committed to and directly involved in supporting investment in science in our country, not least because of his association with Edinburgh University and in particular its science campus at King’s Buildings.
"I think that as a candidate whom I support for the deputy leadership he can ensure that the next Labour manifesto will give the priority to science and innovation that scientists deserve and is the best way forward for our country."
His comments emerged after Tony Blair also appeared to endorse Mr Murray's campaign.
Sharing an article the Edinburgh South MP wrote for the Times Red Box, the Tony Blair Institute tweeted: "'We can’t just continue with a different voice and a different face; we need to change direction too.' Strong argument by @IanMurrayMP that needs to be made – and heard – if Labour is going to once again become a party of government."
Angela Rayner is so far the only deputy leadership candidate to make it through to the final round of the contest.
Mr Murray has won the backing of the Labour Movement for Europe, but will most likely need to support of at least 33 Constituency Labour Parties to get onto the ballot paper.
So far he only has eight CLP nominations, compared to Dawn Butler on 14, Richard Burgon on eight and Rosena Allin-Khan on four.