Labour Leadership Race
The four Remaining Contenders race to the top spot
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After all the results were counted and declared, their worst nightmare became reality. They had been nearly obliterated in Scotland, only retaining 1 of their 41 seats and they had failed to control the threat that came from the SNP, which every party including the Lib Dems couldn't predict.Throughout England and Wales, Labour had lost out to the Conservatives and had fallen below UKIP in a number of areas, including losing what was and still is considered, Northern Labour land. This was, like in most politics, blamed on one man, the leader - in this case Ed Miliband, who announced his resignation the same day.
The Exit poll raised many questions amongst Labour about the way they conducted themselves throughout the election process, about whether they had lost the true meaning of being a Labour supporter and if they turned their backs on the true Labour voters to try to persuade others to vote for them.
The poll also brought up questions about Ed Miliband himself, if he was strong enough and whether he had the right public image to try and fight to become Prime Minister.
With Ed gone it was left to Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman to pick up the pieces and try to reunite the dismayed Labour party.A party leadership competition was also announced and we now know the four final contenders; Andy Burnham, Yvette Copper, Liz Kendall and Jeremy Corbyn.
Each have their own desires and personal ideas which they believe will be enough to persuade other Labour members and change their party’s direction.
Andy Burnham is the bookies favourite and has been from day one. He has had government experience, being Health Secretary under Gordon Brown. He is the ‘typical’ Labour vote being from and standing in one of their northern ‘safe’ seats. He wants to lead the Labour party to help everyone into life, meaning he wants to support everyone reach their potential, with education and job prospects.
Yvette Cooper, married to ex Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, also has Government experience - she has been the Shadow Home Secretary for the last five years. She wants to get Labour back to when they were once over ruling, and create a stronger economy for the country as well as breaching the gap in society.
Liz Kendall was the first candidate to throw their hat into the ring. She has been a Special Adviser to Harriet Harmon and she wants to bring a new approach to party leadership by giving it a fresh start to hope to regain the public’s trust in the economy and public services.
Jeremy Corbyn is the unlikely contender, a fundamental left winger, who has the passion to change Labour for the better. In a last minute scramble he managed to get the lucky 35 nominations to be able to appear on the ballot paper, many labour MPs said they voted for him so that the debate could widen. There was originally going to be more contenders in the fight but Chuka Umunna pulled out for personal reasons and Mary Creagh didn't reach the required amount of nominations. Others were said to join the race but ruled themselves out including Dan Jarvis and Tristram Hunt. There is also a Deputy competition as Harriet Harman is standing down. There are 5 contenders standing and Labour hope that the Leader and Deputy will be able to work together to get Labour back to the heights of Government once again.
In Scotland as well, the leader of the Scottish division Jim Murphy also stood down, with a contest in Scotland starting. The contenders are Kezia Dugdale and Ken Macintosh. Whoever gets the job, will have a hard time to try and get the Scottish Labour Party back to a commanding position in Scotland like they once were. Results are due on the 15th August. A YouGov poll has put Jeremy Corbyn ahead with 43% of people preferring him to lead the party forward, this is ahead of Burnham on 26% Cooper on 20% and Kendall on 11%. This is surprising as many believed that Jeremy Corbyn was always going to be the outsider, one to challenge everyone’s opinions, however now it appears he is in front.
Many are starting to panic wondering what having a left wing leader will do to the Labour party. Away from the Leadership race Harriet Harman has faced a backlash from her own MPs and two of the leadership contenders over her decision to back the Government’s budget plans. She said that it would be better to support the government for the good of the country, but she has faced criticism from her MPs because they are meant to be the opposition in the House and their job is to challenge the Government.
In consequence, 48 of the Labour MPs went against her, this included Jeremy Corbyn going against the wishes of his leader. Tony Blair, ex Labour Prime minister waded into the leadership row, saying that Labour shouldn't go back to the old days of being seen as the far left party in the political spectrum, and instead be a party that supports the majority of the British population.
His comments seemed to dismay Jeremy Corbyn, who is the far left contender. It is uncertain whether or not his warnings will be listened to by other Labour members. It was he who brought Labour out of the far left days. A day after Tony Blair's comments, Sir John Prescott who served under Tony Blair as deputy Prime Minster waded in to mainly have a go at Tony Blair for interfering in the debate saying that Labour should get back to policy instead of arguing with each other.
The leadership contest will continue until the 12th September when we will hear the result. Hopefully from that point Labour can start to rebuild themselves and gain the support they need to rare back to the levels they were at in the early 2000’s, when they were winning elections.