Labour prepares to announce new leader after months-long battle to replace Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leadership contenders Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer
Labour will on Saturday reveal who has won the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.
Sir Keir Starmer is the bookies’ favourite to take over after a months-long battle with Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy that has been overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak.
The results will be announced through the party’s social media feeds at 10.45am, while pre-recorded videos from the new leader and deputy leader will also be published at the same time.
A special conference to unveil the winners was scrapped last month as the coronavirus pandemic worsened.
Voting in the contest closed on Thursday, capping a battle that was kicked off in the wake of Labour’s general election defeat in December - the second under Mr Corbyn's leadership.
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner is the favourite to be the party’s new deputy leader after going toe-to-toe with Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, the party’s only remaining Scottish MP Ian Murray, Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan and Shadow Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler.
The most recent YouGov poll, carried out as voting opened in early February, suggested Sir Keir was course for a decisive victory, winning 53% of first preferences and scooping the leadership in the first round of counting.
In a video message to his supporters released as ballots closed at noon on Thursday, Sir Keir said: "It's been a long campaign and it's ending in circumstances that none of us could have predicted.
“But we've kept it positive, we’ve demonstrated unity, and people have gone over and beyond and I'm genuinely so thankful for everything you've put in.”
The Shadow Brexit Secretary added: “With the campaigns that Rebecca and Lisa have run, and that we’ve run, I think we’ve demonstrated to our party, to our movement, and hopefully to the country that real good can come out of this election.”
Labour MP Wes Streeting, who is backing Sir Keir for the top job, on Saturday warned: “After our worst defeat since 1935 the Labour Party needs fresh leadership and a new direction."
And the Ilford North MP told Sky News: “Our politics only works if we have a government that is held to account by an opposition that is seen to be not just an effective opposition but an alternative government in waiting. And that’s what the Labour Party’s got to provide under new leadership.”
Saturday will also see the announcement of three new members of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee as well as the new deputy leader of Scottish Labour.