Thornberry scrapes into second round of Labour leadership race, but can she challenge Starmer?

Thursday 16th January 2020

The Shadow Foreign Secretary has sparred toe to toe with Boris Johnson in the House of Commons, when he was her Tory counterpart, and was very able at challenging his blustery style. In fact, many would argue that she has more charisma, than the four other candidates in the Labour leadership race.

However, it was only when Clive Lewis’ supporters abandoned a sinking ship, that she was able to cross the line in the second round of the proceedings by grabbing his supporters.

The second stage of the ballot turns to the views of Labour’s constituency party’s (CLPs), and it will be Thornberry’s hope that this new addition to the process will see her promoted to a higher place in the rankings.

Many suggest that the CLPs will do little more than reflect the attitude of the membership as a whole, however, the dire result in the general election, could mean that substantial navel gazing will lead to the inclusion of someone like Thornberry on the final ballot paper.

There seems little doubt that Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey will be relying on the backing of the Trade Unions, but now that there is the CLP element, as a seasoned politician, Thornberry could manoeuvre herself into a winning position.

It now seems conceivable that if Starmer and Thornberry were left in a head-to head, the latter’s experience, charisma and sex could actually deliver Labour its first female leader.

The CLPs have seen Thornberry take on Johnson at the despatch box, they have seen her on many platforms, including the BBC’s Question Time and winning over the audience with her personable persona, these are important considerations when moving forward from Corbyn’s reign.

Nandy, Phillips and Long-Bailey are known for their ability to be bolshy, especially Phillips, however Thornberry shares Starmer’s qualification as a lawyer, giving her gravitas, while having lived in a council house , receiving free school meals as a child.

Although presented by dissenters as another middle class politician, with no knowledge of the country’s underbelly, Thornberry can certainly dispute that.

If Labour really feels that it is long overdue for a female fronts person, Stamer could well be toppled by this one. It may be that the party is ready for a woman, but not one with a regional accent

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