Rebecca Long-Bailey announces candidacy for Labour leadership
Rebecca Long-Bailey has formally announced her entry into the Labour leadership contest.
The shadow secretary for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy becomes the sixth candidate hoping to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, joining Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.
Long-Bailey said that the party has a “mountain to climb” to get back to power in light of December's general election defeat but insisted that persisting with Labour’s socialist values was the way forward.
Speaking to BBC Radio Four, Long-Bailey said: "We need a leader that can be trusted with our socialist agenda. A leader who is totally committed to the policies and has the political backbone to defend them.
“We need a proud socialist to lead the Labour Party, driven by their principles and an unwavering determination to see democratic socialism in our lifetime.”
The Salford and Eccles MP added that she would “fight the establishment tooth and nail” and blamed Labour’s fourth consecutive loss at the polls on a “lack of a coherent narrative” and a poor campaign strategy, adding that the positive messages in the Labour manifesto “weren’t pushed to the extent that they should have been”.
Long-Bailey also revealed that she had been a vocal critic of Labour’s Brexit policy in the run-up to the election.
She said: “Those who were in Leave communities like myself repeatedly stated that we were concerned about veering away from focusing on getting a good deal and moving towards a 'people's vote' or a second referendum.
"We ended up with a compromise solution quite frankly and it was very clear in the election campaign it did not satisfy."
She will be supported in the leadership contest by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, who will run to be Labour’s next deputy leader, and Labour party chairman Ian Lavery, who has opted not to stand.
Lavery said of Long-Bailey that she has the “intellect, drive and determination to take forward and develop the popular, common sense socialist policies that Jeremy Corbyn has championed”.
The contest will begin on Tuesday with the opening of nominations and initial hustings, with the new Labour leader to be announced on April 4.
Labour MPs Ian Murray and Rosena Allin-Khan have also announced their candidacies for the deputy leadership, joining Rayner, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Khalid Mahmood in the running.