The LAB leadership race: Burnham appears in commanding position in the betting & MP declarations

The LAB leadership race: Burnham appears in commanding position in the betting & MP declarations

Just six days to go before nominations open

Not long now before the formal process for electing Labour’s next leader kicks into place. To appear on the ballot a contender has to have nominations from 35 fellow MPs and, as the chart shows, just Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has managed to get more than that number to declare for him.

In the betting he’s seen as being in strong position and on Betfair he’s now an odds-on chance. Meanwhile Liz Kendall has started to move out while support for Yvette Cooper has started to increase.

The three contenders who haven’t yet cracked the 35 MP nomination threshold have until a week on Monday to garner more names.

    It is important to stress that unlike previous LAB leadership elections the value of an MPs vote counts for just the same as the 200k or so members and registered supporters who will be entitled to vote.

What will be interesting is whether Mary Creagh manages to scrape the numbers to make the cut. The acting leader, Harriet Harman, has said she would like to see a broad choice of candidates and maybe some of those MPs who have yet to declare will be persuaded to ensure a four rather than a three or two contender election.

Ballot papers do not go out until August 14th so there is a very long way to go. The election is by AV so second and third preferences could be very important.

What will be significant will be how each of them performs in the hustings meetings that are being planned – at least one of which will be televised.

My guess is that after their terrible general election defeat and experience of Ed Miliband the movement will be looking for someone who has the potential to appeal to more than just the party’s core base. From my perspective Burnham is by far the weakest on that count – Kendall the strongest.

Mike Smithson

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