Emily Thornberry has uphill battle in Labour leadership race and calls out Starmer and Long-Bailey as having machines behind them.
Compared to the heady days of the Brexit debate and the general election campaign last year, the political landscape in the UK has turned from stormy and unpredictable to calm. The media headlines have been more concerned with news from Buckingham Palace than the Palace of Westminster, but much of that is to do with the fat that the government’s opposition is in a state of disarray as it reforms is troops after last year’s messy battle.
After Jeremy Corbyn announced his resignation from the top post, the party has been in a quandary about the direction it should now take, after all losing four general elections in a row is hardly a strong position to be in.
As if to reflect the confusion in the party the four candidates standing for the leadership role are all coming from different angles, including the shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who squeezed onto the ballot paper at the last moment.
The winner won’t be announced until the beginning of April, so Thornberry has time, but she recently accused Starmer and Long-Bailey of having constructed a machine to support them, long before the general election even took pace.
She labelled both as ’machine politicians”, in a recent interview, although this may be seen simply as a way o excusing her own popularity at this current time.
According to the pollsters, and the bookies, Thornberry is at the back of the leadership pack and will really need to up her game if she has any chance of success.
Her record of taking on Johnson across the despatch box serves her well, but with Long-Bailey and Starmer serving the opposite ends of the party, Thornberry’s middle way could easily be squeezed out of the competition.
To affirm her position, after gaining the support of enough MPs and MEPs, she now needs the nomination of three Labour affiliates, including two trade unions, or the support of 33 constituency Labour parties. So far no union has backed Thornberry, and only 3 CLPs, so she will be working hard to gain their support, something that Lisa Nandy seems to have already accrued.
Of course it is to Thornberry’s advantage that she is a woman, in a contest that would love to finally secure a female leader, but representing Islington South and Finsbury does put her at a disadvantage to Nandy and Long-Bailey who are northerners.
Having lost grass root northern seats to the Conservatives in the last election, it will be felt by some that having a northern leader could restore trust and voters that have jumped ship.
In conclusion it seems that Thornberry could be right and she is about to be “squeezed” out of the leadership race.