Could the race be over for Labour's Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis as deadline looms?

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

Sir Keir Starmer leads the Labour race while two contenders face the cut, as the contest enters the next phase.

Labour leadership hopefuls Emily Thornberry and Clive Lewis await to see if they will make it on to the ballot paper in their bid to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. The two front benchers have until 2.30pm on Monday to secure the 22 nominations from Labour MPs and MEPs to go forward. On Sunday Ms Thornberry only had 10, while Clive Lewis only had four.

Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Jess Philips have all secured the nominations they require to go through.

With a majority of MPs yet to decide who to back, Ms Thornberry said over the weekend that she was ‘fairly confident’ of making it, but Mr Lewis admitted getting the numbers was difficult.

Mr Lewis, who requires another 18 backers to progress, said he trusts his colleagues to support his bid and put him through to the next round.

Despite him addressing contentious topics during his leadership pitch, MPs Rachael Maskell and new entrant Nadia Whittome have backed him.

The Norwich South MP has achieved a lot, and has arguably generated more policy ideas than the rest of the field combined.

In a speech on Friday, he called for a radical reshaping of Labour based around electoral reform and collaboration with other parties. He also hinted at a referendum on the monarchy.

In a BBC Radio 4 interview Lewis said that he believes his colleagues have heard what he has put forward and that he had faith in them.

“I understand it is difficult because I am talking about things which are hard for people to hear. This isn’t about triangulating on our policies – it is about saying you have got a political system that is stacked against you," said Lewis.

The last seven days for Ms Thornberry are not what she imagined. The shadow foreign secretary has not lacked attention, particularly with her comment piece in the Jewish News, in which she accused Jeremy Corbyn’s aides of trying to remove criticism of Palestinian actions from December’s manifesto. However, her bid for the ballot is not looking likely.

Despite the backing of shadow defence minister Nia Griffith, Meg Hillier and former shadow minister Catherine West, she only has 10 nominations.

In the race for deputy leader, which is running concurrently, two candidates – shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and Ian Murray have secured their bids.

Richard Burgon, who is on 18, Rosena Allin-Khan with 17 and Dawn Butler with 15 – are hoping they will secure enough to make it through.

Those who qualify in the two contests will then need to get the nominations of 33 local constituency parties or three Labour affiliates. This includes at least two trade unions to make it through to the final postal ballot of party members and registered supporters.

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