Keir Starmer becomes first Labour leadership hopeful onto ballot paper after Usdaw backing
Sir Keir Starmer has become the first Labour leadership hopeful to make it onto the final ballot paper after winning the backing of another major union.
Usdaw, which represents hundreds of thousands of shopworkers across the UK, said he was the best candidate to make Labour look like "a government in waiting".
The union has also thrown its weight behind Angela Rayner's bid to be deputy leader.
Their endorsement follows last week's announcement by Unison that they were also backing Sir Keir's leadership bid.
With Labour environmental campaign group SERA also on board, it means the Shadow Brexit Secretary has the support of enough affiliate groups to make it onto the ballot paper.
Usdaw's decision is also a massive blow for Jess Phillips, who had hoped to get the union's endorsement, and means she now faces an uphill struggle to make it through to the next round of the contest.
Sir Keir Starmer said: "I’m honoured to have received Usdaw’s endorsement for the Labour leadership. Our campaign is building unity across the labour movement, amongst trade unionists and members.
"Usdaw represent over 400,000 workers and fights every day for its members and for a fairer society.
"If I’m elected leader, Labour will stand shoulder to shoulder with the trade union movement as we take on the Tories and rebuild trust with working people."
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Usdaw believes that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are the right leadership team to unite and rebuild Labour after a devastating election loss. Our members desperately need Labour in power, they cannot afford another decade of Conservative governments attacking workers’ rights, incomes and public services.
“The Labour Party must be led by someone who can persuade voters that they have what it takes to be a prime minister and we are a government in waiting. That is at the heart of Usdaw’s decision to make these nominations."