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Monday, August 8, 2022

Who Will Make Final Labour Leadership Cut?

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The six MPs aiming to be Labour’s next leader have until lunchtime to gather the support of their colleagues. Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls, David

Miliband, Ed Miliband

Allies are confident Andy Burnham (3rd right) will make the final cut
Leading the field with 74 nominations is David Miliband, ahead of his brother Ed on 57.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham is hoping to make the Labour leadership contest a four-horse race but faces a race against time.

The Leigh MP needs the support of two more MPs to join frontbench colleagues David and Ed Miliband and Ed Balls in the final ballot.

Allies have expressed confidence that Mr Burnham will achieve the 33 nominations required by the deadline of 12.30pm.

But the prospects for two other would-be contenders, left-wingers John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, are not looking so good. The two have just 16 and 11 backers respectively.

Mr McDonnell made a last-ditch plea last night for the party to change its rules to allow him to stand in September’s election.

The Hayes and Harlington MP said the nominations threshold should be dropped from 12.5% to 5% of the parliamentary party, which equates to 13 MPs.

“The party leadership has got itself in a real mess over this leadership election,” he said.

“The solution is for the party to simply lower the qualifying bar and allow all the candidates on the ballot paper.”

Labour’s acting leader Harriet Harman said she had nominated Ms Abbott because she did not want to see a “men-only” contest.

And Mr Balls, who has exactly 33 nominations, said anyone wanting to add their name to his list of backers should instead support Ms Abbott to help her get on to the ballot paper.

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