11:35
UK

Lisa Nandy And Emily Thornberry are clear outsiders in Labour leadership Race

Thursday 6th February 2020
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Five weeks into the Labour leadership race, with another nine weeks to go, Boris Johnson is building on his recent success at the ballot box with the lack of an opposition in parliament.

The five contestants are barely visible, unless you chance upon the hustings that are streamed on YouTube, but the original frontrunner, Keir Starmer, appears to be maintaining his position.

While Starmer is popping his head above the publicity parapet, Long-Bailey, Nandy and Thornberry are struggling to get their voice heard outside the party, although tonight the ex shadow Foreign Secretary will bend the ear of Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC.

Many would have expected Thornberry to be at the head of the field given the fact that she is an experienced politician, is a savvy communicator and . . . is female.

However, she will argue tonight that she is being squeezed out of the competition by fierce campaigns that are being played by Starmer and Long-Bailey.

There is no doubt that after four general election defeats, Labour is in a sorry state, with some blaming the party’s position on Brexit and others accrediting Jeremy Corbyn’s left-wing policies for the shambles.

There is a sense that something new and radical has to happen to make Labour credible again, and while Thornberry believes she is a safe pair of hands, init appears that others are not so sure.

Long-Bailey represents the left, as a disciple of Corbyn, whereas Starmer is regarded as more of a centrist. Unfortunately for Thornberry and Nandy, who would be similarly aligned, their faces do not seem to fit in the same way.

Thornberry has explained her situation with the following quote, “I’ve had people saying to me they’ve gone to a nominating meeting and they’ve said, well,’ Emily I was going to support you, but we’ve got to stop Keir Starmer, so I’m voting for Rebecca Long-Bailey’. And I’ve had other people coming to me and saying ‘I was going to support you, but I can’t because we’ve got to stop Rebecca Long-Bailey so I had to vote for Keir’.”

It appears that once again the politics of the Labour Party is being defined by the media, a common factor in UK politics, and as such those unable to establish said profile, like Nandy and Thornberry are losing out on the spotlight.

Of course, it also does not help that the election process is so convoluted and relies heavily on the Unions’ position, but perhaps by being interviewed tonight, Thornberry can go some way to restoring the balance.

Even Nandy, who many recognise as the rank outsider, masterminded a deft interview with Andrew Neil with is a feather in any politician’s cap.

One thing that could turn the tide forth Thornberry and Nandy is the fact that the process is so long and convoluted, which in theory gives the frontrunners even more string to hang themselves. However, on  the other hand, many in the Labour Party could see this as a clear choice between right and left and choose Starmer and Long-Bailey as the two candidates that best represent this battle.

Either way, Boris Johnson will be thrilled that he is left with a clear path in Westminster for the foreseeable future.

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