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Labour leadership race: Who are the contenders?

Who will succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party? Credit: PA

Where does the Labour Party go from here, and who will take it there?

Jeremy Corbyn is on his way out, but that does not necessarily spell the end for Corbynism.

An array of six contenders from across the party have so far thrown their hats into the ring, in the race to replace him, all offering a different direction for the party.

To the Left there's Rebecca Long-Bailey - the "continuity candidate", as she's been called - who would likely carry the torch of Corbynism into the next election.

Then there's candidates like Birmingham MP Jess Phillips, who many say represents the political centre ground and would more likely morph the party back into a state similar to its previous incarnation; New Labour.

Among the other candidates, is the race's odds-on favourite, a couple of wildcards and a despatch box veteran - but who will win?

Here's a rundown of all the current contenders, and what they represent:

  • Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer wants to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party. Credit: PA

Since long before Jeremy Corbyn resigned as Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer had been mooted as his potential successor, which is possibly why he is the favourite.

The 57-year-old has only been an MP since 2015, but his relative inexperience in Parliament has not stopped him rising through the ranks.

But the very senior role he's ended up with in the Labour Party - shadow Brexit secretary - and the stance he's taken while in the job, could be to his detriment as well as his benefit.

While in the role he cemented his status as a straight talking statesman, but he also ardently campaigned for the party to back a second EU referendum, a policy which many blame for the poor election performance.

He is also a London MP and many say what the party needs is a leader from elsewhere, in order to bring back disenfranchised voters from traditional Labour heartlands such as the north of England.

Before announcing his bid for the leadership, it was thought Starmer could ditch much of Corbyn's policies and take the party back to the centre.

But when revealing his candidacy he urged the party not to lurch to the right and said the case for a "bold and radical" Labour government is as important as ever.

The human rights lawyer, who was made Queen's Counsel in 2002, served as head of the CPS and accepted a knighthood in 2014.

  • Rebecca Long-Bailey
Rebecca Long-Bailey is said to be the favourite among Corbynistas.

Rebecca Long-Bailey is another of the race's favourites, but that is more because of her association with Corbyn and the make-up of the left leaning membership who elected him twice.

Many of the party's more-than-half-a-million members - those who will eventually elect the leader - joined the party because of Corbyn and it is believed many of them want Labour to move on in his image.

But its not just the membership who must back her, she needs at least 22 Labour MPs and or MEPs to support her and it is not certain they will.

The question for her colleagues will be; did Labour lose the election because of Corbyn or just because of his policies?

If the policies are to blame, then 40-year-old Long-Bailey could be the change of face the party needs.

Announcing her bid for the leadership, the shadow business secretary said she could be trusted with the party’s "socialist agenda" and claimed the election was not lost because of its "socialist programme".

But it's for that reason many, including former deputy leader Tom Watson, are concerned about her.

"The one that I worry about - but I don't know what she stands for - I mean, when I look at Rebecca Long-Bailey, she's really the continuity candidate," Watson told Sky News on Monday morning.

"She sort of stands for Corbynism in its purest sense and that's perfectly legitimate but we have lost two elections with that play."

  • Lisa Nandy
Lisa Nandy is probably the biggest underdog in the race. Credit: PA

Wigan MP and former shadow cabinet minister Lisa Nandy has vowed to "do things differently" compared to the current leader, if she is to succeed him.

Ms Nandy said it was important for the next Labour leader to connect to parts of the country outside London in order to regain power.

She launched the Centre For Towns think tank - something which could give her an advantage in understanding why voters in former industrial Labour heartlands switched to the Tories.

Announcing her bid for the leadership in her local newspaper, she said: “We need a different sort of leadership that helps to root us back in every community across the UK, turns us back into a real movement and real force, driven from the ground up so that we can win people’s trust back.

"We’ve been wiped out in Scotland virtually, we’ve seen the red wall crumble in the North and Midlands and parts of north Wales."

Ms Nandy said she would like to see power moved from outside London and into local towns and regions whose decisions will impact on that community.

She said that too many people "no longer feel they have a voice in our national story" and did not believe that politicians were interested in what they had to say.

Before being elected in 2010, Ms Nandy worked for the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint and The Children's Society.

Emily Thornberry was the first to announce her bid for the leadership. Credit: PA

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry is the race's most experienced MP, having been the representative for Islington South and Finsbury since 2005.

She is also the candidate with the most experience facing Prime Minister Boris Johnson across the despatch box.

Mr Johnson was her counterpart when he served in Theresa May's Cabinet as foreign secretary and the pair had several heated rows.

Ms Thornberry, one of Corbyn's closest allies, in an article for the Guardian, touted her credentials in facing the PM as a reason she should be leader.

But she has the same problem as Sir Keir, in that she fervently backed remaining in the EU and is a London MP.

Defending herself, she said the next leader should be elected for their "political nous and strategic vision", rather than their "position on Brexit, or where they live in our country".

Thornberry joined Labour when she was 17 and was motivated by her experiences being raised by her mother, a single parent living on a council estate.

Jess Phillips is a big critic of Jeremy Corbyn. Credit: PA

For a backbench MP who has never held a senior role within the Labour, Jess Phillips' public profile is huge.

She's possibly most known for her passionate, forthright and often funny House of Commons speeches, which have been known to go 'viral' on social media.

It's possibly for that reason she has almost 352,000 followers on Twitter, making her the most popular on social media out of the contenders.

But there is a concern she may not be popular among the Labour membership due to her outspoken criticism of Corbyn.

For that reason she will be hoping she can persuade her social media followers to join the party and back her.

Launching her campaign, Ms Phillips said it was important for Labour to learn from the mistakes of the 2019 election that saw the party lose traditional heartlands to the Conservative party that helped give Boris Johnson a big majority.

The Birmingham Yardley MP said Labour needed to elect a leader who "gets it", adding the party needed to "be brave and bold" in where they stood.

"Against a Prime Minister who blusters and lies, Labour needs a leader who will speak truth - to both the Party and the country," she said in a statement.

She continued: “I wasn’t sure if I was going to stand in this contest but listening to the debate in the days after the election, I thought, we’ve got to elect someone who gets it.

"Someone who understands how serious this defeat was. We’re a party named after the working class who has lost huge parts of its working class base. Unless we address that, we are in big trouble."

  • Clive Lewis - Dropped out the race
Clive Lewis is one of the race's outsiders. Credit: Clive Lewis

If Clive Lewis is to be elected leader of the Labour Party, it will certainly be viewed as a surprise result.

Despite being the shadow Treasury minister, the 48-year-old is relatively inexperienced in Parliament, having only been an MP for four years.

He is a passionate Remainer on the Left of the party, as confirmed by his association with the Love Socialism, Hate Brexit campaign.

Since being elected as the MP for Norwich South in 2015, Lewis had been tightly linked to the Corbyn movement but he's slowly began to distance himself from it.

Writing in the Guardian, to announce his leadership bid, the former BBC journalist and Army reservist criticised Mr Corbyn's "prevarication and lack of leadership".

Mr Lewis said he wanted to have the opportunity to “win back” the trust of the electorate in Labour’s traditional heartlands, where large swathes of voters deserted the party in favour of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives at the election.

“The truth is that while making a clear break with the New Labour era in terms of policy and personnel, the party was never able to communicate this to voters in our heartlands," he said.

Who's running to be deputy leader?

Several have confirmed they are running to be deputy and a handful are said to be considering their chances.

The biggest name on the list is Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, who, before announcing her bid for deputy, was thought to be a favourite for leader.

Another big name of confirmed contenders is shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, who stood in for Mr Corbyn during a televised election debate.

The shadow Women and Equalities secretary, Dawn Butler, is another big name who officially entered the race on the day it began (Tuesday, January 7).

Rosena Allin-Khan, a fresh faced MP who has only been in Parliament since a 2016 tooting by-election, is another hoping to succeed Tom Watson.

Scotland's only Labour MP is also running, Ian Murray, who's position as a Corbyn-skeptic with a large majority will likely stand him in good stead.