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McCluskey’s comments on Corbyn’s successor help move Emily Thornberry to 2nd favourite

August 30th, 2017

The Unite boss’s backing could be crucial

While all the focus has been on the Tory leadership there’s been a shake up in the Next LAB leader market after a report from Paul Waugh at HuffPost. He wrote:

“Emily Thornberry is being backed by Unite boss Len McCluskey to become Labour’s first woman leader, HuffPost UK can reveal.

The general secretary of the UK’s biggest trade union has told friends that he thinks Thornberry is a unifying figure who can carry on Jeremy Corbyn’s work when he eventually decides to step aside.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary already stands in for Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Question Time and has built up a fanbase within the rank and file membership for her loyal defence of the leader over the past year.”

Certainly her PMQ appearances have been impressive and there is a growing view within the Labour movement that the next leader should be a woman.

Emily attracted a lot of publicity during the 2014 Rochester by election when she Tweeted a picture of a house with a white van outside and 3 Flags of St George draping from a window. Her comment “Image from Rochester” was deemed to be elitist. The outcome was that she quit as shadow Attorney General.

The big issue with Labour leadership betting is that we have no idea when there will be a vacancy. Corbyn has looked as though he has been enjoying himself since the general election and looks set, possibly, to continue in the role until the next general election. In that time a lot can happen and someone who looks promising now might not be in such a position when the battle actually commences.

For me as a punter this has become a nightmare market having shared the assumption that the general election result would be so bad for Labour that Corbyn would resign or forced out in the immediate aftermath. My money has been on Yvette Cooper at what looks like ridiculously tight odds now.

A big question over Thornbury is weather McCluskey will have as much influence when the contest takes place.

Mike Smithson