EXCL Rebecca Long Bailey to dodge key meeting settingLabour leadership contest rules
Rebecca Long Bailey is preparing to officially enter the Labour leadership race after it emerged she will not attend a meeting which will agree the rules of the contest.
Rival camps had told PoliticsHome it would be "outrageous" if the Shadow Business Secretary sat in on Monday's National Executive Committee gathering.
The meeting at Labour HQ will decide the timetable and regulations for the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.
Ms Long Bailey is one of three Shadow Cabinet representatives on the NEC, and is therefore entitled to attend.
A source close to the Salford and Eccles MP said she would not be attending the meeting, which will be held at Labour HQ.
However, Momentum boss Jon Lansman, who is also on the NEC and an adviser to Ms Long Bailey's campaign, will be there.
One senior Labour source said: "Becky’s campaign is already faltering. I can’t believe she would be daft enough to attend this meeting. The last thing she needs is to be now accused of fixing the contest.
"The pro-Ian Lavery Skwawkbox would have a field day."
A source on Jess Phillips's leadership campaign said: "it would be outrageous if Rebecca Long Bailey was able to attend."
Although she has not formally entered the race, Ms Long Bailey has already received the support of John McDonnell and Richard Burgon, with many seeing her as the so-called "continuity Corbyn" candidate.
In a Guardian article a week ago, Ms Long Bailey said she was "considering standing" for the leadership.
She wrote: "Leadership means leading a team, working with every part of our movement and using all our party’s talents to fight the Conservatives at every turn and map Labour’s route back to power.
"Millions woke up to a nightmare on December 13th. It’s our duty to make sure that doesn’t happen again."
Both Ms Long Bailey's campaign and Mr Lansman have been approached for comment.