Corbyn 2.0: Leadership Contender Says Labour Needs ‘Proud Socialist Leader’

SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 02: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey attend a rally ahead of a shadow cabinet meeting on September 02, 2019 in Salford, England. The Labour leader is making a major speech about the battle to stop a No Deal Brexit. The weekend …
Anthony Devlin/Getty Images

Corbyn loyalist Rebecca Long-Bailey and contender for Labour leader has said that her party needs a “proud socialist leader”.

Writing in Tribune magazine, Ms Long-Bailey, who is being groomed by the far-left group Momentum to take over from socialist Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, said that rather than return Labour to the centre or realign itself with working-class concerns, “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 MP for Salford and Eccles, who mentioned “socialism” or “socialist” 11 times in the 1,200-word piece, said she wants to win back the heartlands, which switched allegiance and voted for the Conservatives in the December 2019 election.

In an interview with the Today programme on Tuesday, the Corbyn acolyte and “lifelong socialist” said that Labour should be pro-mass migration and denied that open borders with the EU depressed British wages, despite evidence to the contrary.

“We need to have immigration to serve our economic needs,” she added.

Long-Bailey is widely seen as the favourite by the far-left of the party to succeed Corbyn, after the 70-year-old led the party to its worst election defeat last month since 1935.

She joins fellow contenders Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Clive Lewis, and Lisa Nandy. All voted Remain in the 2016 EU referendum. Starmer, Lewis, and Long-Bailey are relatively new intakes to the House of Commons, taking their seats in 2015, while Nandy has been MP since 2010 and Thornberry since 2005.

Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) ruled on Monday that the fee to become a member of the Labour Party should be set at £25, enabling supporters to vote for the next leader — a far cry from the £3 membership charged in 2015 when members elected Corbyn as leader. The final date for voters to become registered Labour Party members is January 20th.

Private hustings will begin tonight, with candidates needing the support of at least 22 MPs or MEPs to secure their place on the ballot paper. That nomination period runs from the 7th to the 13th of January. The second stage of the nominations from the Constituency Labour Parties (CLP) runs January 15th to February 14th.  Ballots for party members will open on February 21st and close on April 2nd, with the winner announced on April 4th.

While Long-Bailey is the preferred candidate of the far-left, in a recent poll of Labour voters Keir Starmer came out as the clear favourite. The shadow Brexit secretary had campaigned for a second referendum, but claims to accept the results of the recent election and that the UK is leaving the EU.

Fellow leadership candidate Jess Phillips was forced to backtrack over her comments where she said she would “fight” to take the UK back into the EU if she became Labour leader.

“People are asking me if I’ll lead the campaign to rejoin the EU. We haven’t even left yet! The honest answer is that I don’t know what the future will hold, but we must accept the result, move our country forward and hold Boris Johnson to account,” Phillips wrote for the Independent on Monday.

The Conservatives were able to break through the Red Wall in December’s general election, gaining the support of traditional Labour voters who felt disenfranchised after the party turned to the hard-left and abandoned its 2017 promise to respect the result of the referendum.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.