Labour leadership race: Lisa Nandy joins Sir Keir Starmer on final ballot

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Romilly Weeks

Lisa Nandy has made it onto the final ballot of the Labour Party leadership election, hours after former contender Jess Phillips declared support for her.

Ms Nandy joins Sir Keir Starmer in the contest's final round - which kicks off on February 21 - after adding support from the Chinese For Labour group to her already won endorsements from unions GMB and NUM.

Ms Nandy, whose father is Indian, said: "As someone of mixed heritage, I'm incredibly proud that it is Chinese For Labour who have secured my place on the ballot paper."

She said she was "looking forward to getting out intro the country and laying out my vision for reuniting the party, rebuilding trust, and returning Labour to power at the next election."

In an interview with ITV News, Ms Nandy was unable to pick a favourite former Labour leader, saying "all of them in different ways".

The 40-year-old highlighted Clement Atlee's "creation of the welfare state" to help "working people".

On a lighter note, the Wigan MP said she enjoyed listening to Britney Spears when she was not "out campaigning" and "taking on battles".

By winning support from three Labour affiliates, including two trade unions, Ms Nandy was able to beat Rebecca Long-Bailey in becoming the second name of the ballot.

Ms Long-Bailey is likely to pass the threshold and progress in the contest but the task for Emily Thornberry is getting more difficult.

But she says she's confident she will make it onto the ballot, either by winning support from affiliates or alternatively by gaining backing from at least 33 local Labour parties.

When leaving GMB hustings on Tuesday she was asked if she is confident about being on the final ballot. "Of course, of course", she responded.

Ms Phillips, who quit the contest after failing to win sufficient support to progress further, said she wants Ms Nandy to be the next Labour leader because she can "unite the party and begin the process of winning back trust with the country".

Ms Phillips, who conceded she "can’t bring the party together", told ITV News she would be voting for Sir Keir Starmer as her second preference.

On Tuesday a member of Ms Phillips' team revealed the Birmingham Yardley MP would "do whatever she can to shore up the candidate who can beat Rebecca Long-Bailey.”

It is expected Rebecca Long-Bailey (L) will join Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy on the final ballot. Credit: PA

If she makes it to the final ballot, Ms Long-Bailey will be hoping the makeup of the Labour membership hasn't changed too much since it elected Jeremy Corbyn in 2016.

She has been referred to as his "continuity candidate" and has the support of his right-hand man in government, shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

If the membership is the same, and feels the same as it did in 2016, then Ms Long-Bailey is in with a fighting chance of beating the race's favourite Sir Keir.

However, it is thought thousands of Ms Phillips' 357,000 social media followers may have joined the party in order to support her.

If there are thousands of new Labour members looking to mimic her voting intentions, then the race could have a surprise winner in Ms Nandy.

Earlier in the contest Ms Phillips appeared on the Calling Peston podcast, in which she revealed she would support Ms Nandy if she herself was not in the race.

Ms Nandy was continuing her push for support on Wednesday morning, using a major speech in London to call for changes to tax and welfare policies.

"Tax is not an evil. Tax is how we contribute to something bigger, better than ourselves," she said.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry is struggling for support. Credit: PA

The candidates have until February 14 to lobby CLPs, unions and affiliates for support, before the final decision is passed to Labour supporters.

Labour members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters will have from February 21 to April 2 to elect a new leader, which will be announced on April 4.