Ian Lavery 'seriously considering' entering race to become next Labour leader
Ian Lavery is "seriously considering" throwing his hat into the ring to become Labour's new leader, it has emerged.
The party chairman is said to have had "a tremendous amount of support" from people urging him to join the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Lavery is a close ally of Mr Corbyn and is keen to be the standard bearer for the Labour left in the upcoming leadership race.
Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis are the only MPs to s far confirm that they will enter the contest, although Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer have also admitted that they are pondering a bid, as is Jess Phillips.
Brexit-backing Mr Lavery has been the MP for Wansbeck in 2010, but saw his majority cut to just 814 at the general election earlier this month.
He became Labour chairman in 2017 and, along with Andrew Gwynne, was in charge of the party's disastrous election campaign, which saw the Conservatives win with an 80-seat majority.
That led Mr Corbyn to confirm that he would stand down as leader, with his successor due to be in place by the beginning of April.
Following mounting speculation about Mr Lavery's leadership ambitions, a spokesperson for him said: "Ian is optimistic about the challenges ahead and knows there is a lot of work to be done to unify the party.
"He has had a tremendous amount of support and is seriously considering all of his options at present."
Senior Labour sources have told PoliticsHome that Mr Lavery is being urged to run by Karie Murphy, Mr Corbyn's chief of staff and a key figure on the left of the party.
He is also likely to face a challenge from Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey to be the so-called "continuity Corbyn candidate", with supporters of the outgoing leader eager to ensure that he is succeeded by another left-winger.
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