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Thu, 13 August 2020

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Lisa Nandy reveals she is 'seriously considering' run for Labour leadership

Lisa Nandy reveals she is 'seriously considering' run for Labour leadership
4 min read

Labour MP Lisa Nandy has revealed that she is "seriously considering" a bid to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as party leader following its "shattering" election defeat.


Ms Nandy - who represents the heavily Brexit-backing seat of Wigan - said she could help the party to "rebuild that coalition" needed to restore it to power.

But she warned the party had a "very, very hard road" ahead of it to recover from the loss of 59-seats in the face of Boris Johnson's resurgent Conservatives.

Ms Nandy held Wigan, which voted 62.96% in favour of quitting the EU in 2016, with a reduced majority in Thursday night's poll.

Pressed by the BBC's Andrew Marr on whether she would run, Ms Nandy said: "Well, the honest answer is that I'm seriously thinking about it."

And she added: "The reason that I'm thinking about is because we've just had the most shattering defeat where you really felt in towns like mine that the earth was quaking and we've watched the entire Labour base just crumble beneath our feet."

Setting out her pitch for the top job, Ms Nandy argued that she could bridge the divide between Labour's traditional heartlands in the North, which were eaten into by the Tories, and its remaining strongholds in major metropolitan areas.

But she urged the party to do more to listen to voters if it wanted to find a way back into government.

"I think we need to think seriously now about first of all how you bring those lifelong Labour voters who felt that not only couldn't vote Labour but actually in many instances chose the Tories, how you bring Labour how to them," she said.

"And I also think we have to think seriously about how we rebuild that coalition that has propelled us into power three times in the last 100 years - the Lewishams and the Leighs - and how you speak for both."

Ms Nandy added: "I think that I definitely have a contribution to make: I come from one part of that coalition. I've lived in and represented another part for the last decade.

"But I think we need to take a bit of time to think seriously about how we're going to take that very hard road back to power and who is best-placed to fix it."

The Labour MP said the party now faced "a very, very hard road back to regain the trust of those lifelong Labour voters in towns like min"

"Even those who in the end came out on Thursday and put a cross in the ballot box for us did so with very little enthusiasm," she said.

Urging the party to shift its focus beyond London, Ms Nandy called for the party to move its headquarters out of the English capital and hand more power to its regional offices.

"There's a real job of work to be done to try to rebuild in those places and empower people in those places to be able to speak properly," she said.

"Because the truth is that we just haven't heard what people have been telling us for some time."

'MODERNISE'

The comments came as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell denied that the current Labour leadership would try to tip the scales in favour of their preferred candidates.

"No we can’t do that," he told the same programme.

"Look, the eldership election will be determined by he NEC, all the details on that, there are strict rules and timescales etcetera."

He added: "It’s not for us to do that. I think it’s for the members to decide who’ll be the next leader and the next team and the members will decide that.

"I don’t think there’s any difference, much difference anyway in terms of policy, they’re all signed up to the policies and the programme. I think they’ll want to modernise it.”

But Mr McDonnell again made clear that he believed Mr Corbyn should be succeeded by a woman, singling out the "brilliant" left-wing frontbenchers Rebecca Long-Bailey, the current Shadow Business Secretary, as well as Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon, Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, and Shadow Equalities Secretary Dawn Butler as potential candidates.

"You can see a whole team developing, this new generation," the frontbench ally of Mr Corbyn said.

"It’s interesting how many women are actually there - young women. My view is I think it should be a woman leader next time around and I’ve said that consistently.”

But Mr McDonnell give a frosty reception to the idea of Jess Phillips, the Birmingham Yardley MP who has also been tipped for the leadership race, succeeding Mr Corbyn.

"I would prefer others," he said. "But the members will decide.

“You know Jess is really talented and I think, I hope she comes on board and that will be great.

"She’ll have a great conribution to make because she speaks form the grassroots. But I want someone who actually has been really solidly involved in the development of our existing policy. That's why Becky and Angie and Dawn and others have been so good."

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