Labour leadership front-runner Sir Keir Starmer cemented his place on the ballot paper today as he picked up the backing of another trade union for his bid to replace Jeremy Corbyn.
The shadow Brexit secretary was endorsed by Usdaw this afternoon, with general secretary Paddy Lillis saying its members ‘desperately need Labour in power’ as they also backed Angela Rayner for deputy.
To get through to the vote of party members, the five candidates must win the nominations of five per cent of the almost 300 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) OR three Labour affiliates.
Sir Keir has already been backed by Unison and environmental group Sera, meaning he is through to the vote in March.
But with Unite expected to back Corbynista candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey and the GMB thought to favour Lisa Nandy, it could spell the end of Jess Phillips’ leadership bid.
She was hoping that Usdaw backing would help her continue her pitch at the top job.
But in statement this afternoon Mr Lillis said: ‘Usdaw believes that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are the right leadership team to unite and rebuild Labour after a devastating election loss.
‘Our members desperately need Labour in power, they cannot afford another decade of Conservative governments attacking workers’ rights, incomes and public services.
Sir Keir has already been backed by Unison and environmental group Sera, meaning he is through to the vote by members in March
Jess Phillips was hoping that Usdaw backing would help her continue her pitch at the top job. But in statement this afternoon Mr Lillis said: ‘Usdaw believes that Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are the right leadership team to unite and rebuild Labour’
‘The Labour Party must be led by someone who can persuade voters that they have what it takes to be a Prime Minister and we are a government in waiting.
‘That is at the heart of Usdaw’s decision to make these nominations.’
In a statement Sir Keir said: ‘I’m honoured to have received Usdaw’s endorsement for the Labour leadership.
‘Our campaign is building unity across the labour movement, amongst trade unionists and members.
‘Usdaw represent over 400,000 workers and fights every day for its members and for a fairer society.
‘If I’m elected leader, Labour will stand shoulder to shoulder with the trade union movement as we take on the Tories and rebuild trust with working people.’
How does the Labour leadership election work?
Under the terms of the contest, candidates need to secure the nominations of least 10 per cent of the party’s MPs and MEPs – which is now 22 after the general and European election defeats last year.
Those who succeed will then go forward to the second stage when they must win the nominations of five per cent of the almost 300 constituency Labour parties (CLPs) OR three Labour affiliates – of which at least two must be trade unions – comprising at least five per cent of the fully paid-up affiliate membership.
Applications to become a registered supporter open at 5pm on January 14 and close at 5pm on January 16.
The freeze date for new members to join and be eligible to vote will be January 20 in the postal ballot.
Under the timetable set out by the NEC, nominations from MPs and MEPs will open on January 7, closing at 2.30pm on January 13.
The second stage of nominations from constituency parties and affiliates then opens on January 15 and runs to February 14.
The ballot of members and registered supporters opens the following week on February 21, closing at noon on Thursday April 2.
A special conference will be held two days later to unveil the new party leader.