Jeremy Corbyn describes Rebecca Long-Bailey as 'our candidate for leader'
Jeremy Corbyn has appeared to throw his weight behind Rebecca Long-Bailey's bid to succeed him by describing her as "our candidate for leader".
The Labour chief, who has not publicly endorsed any candidate in the leadership contest, made the remark at a dinner to mark the retirement of former left-win MP Ronnie Campbell.
Shadow Business Secretary Ms Long-Bailey, who has already secured the backing of the likes of John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, was also at the event.
According to The Times, Mr Corbyn said: "It’s an absolute pleasure to be here alongside Becky Long Bailey, our candidate for leader.
"I’ve known Becky since we came in to Parliament and we’ve worked very well together. She has done the most to develop our trade union policies."
He also said Ms Long-Bailey had been "steadfast" by not abandoning him during the 2016 attempt by Labour MPs to remove him from office.
That appeared to be a veiled criticism of Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer, who both quit the Labour frontbench at the time.
A Labour source insisted Mr Corbyn was not supporting his fellow frontbencher's campaign and had been talking "in an inclusive way rather than intending to endorse anyone".
Meanwhile, Angela Rayner has said the Labour leader should not have the power to nominate peers.
The deputy leadership candidate's remarks came a week after it emerged that Mr Corbyn had put forward eight people for the House of Lords, including John Bercow, Tom Watson and Karie Murphy, his chief of staff.
Speaking at a hustings event on Sunday, Ms Rayner said the House of Lords should be abolished.
"In the meantime, our leader should not be appointing people into the Lords," she said. "Our democratic structures here should be putting people into the Lords."
Ms Rayner said she supported a system of so-called "People's peerages" nominated by members of the public.
She said: "This is how Labour demonstrates who we are - through deeds not words. We might not be able to scrap unelected peers yet – we need to be in government for that - but we can practice what we preach by ensuring our members and affiliates have a say in who makes law on our behalf.
"People’s peerages would end the Westminster bubble grip on who sits in our second chamber, and put real people in the driving seat."