It’s blindingly clear that the Labour leadership contest has been attracting less and less interest from the British media as it rumbles on and on, although the successor to Jeremy Corbyn won’t be announced until April so there’s plenty of time left before the race goes to the wire.
Part of the reason why the media have apparently lost interest is that this isn’t really a contest in the real sense of the word with Keir Starmer a shoo-in as far as the leading bookmakers are concerned with most operators going 1/7 that he’s next in the hot-seat. Starmer enjoys a massive lead with 280 Constituency Labour party nominations against Rebecca Long-Bailey’s 132 and he even won in Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency of Islington.
Principal rival Rebecca Long-Bailey has thus far failed to achieve the level of excitement which Jeremy Corbyn managed five years ago, while Lisa Nandy is attracting less attention around the nation than she is in Westminster with a decent enough 56 CLP nominations.
The big question is, is this a done deal? There are many reasons to be sceptical about this. A particular concern amongst the anti-Corbyn contingent – who would all be pretty content with Starmer as party leader – is that many younger party members don’t attend party meetings and as such, CLPs could prove to be something of a red herring and the power enjoyed by the pro-Corbyn grassroots campaign group might instead help Long-Bailey to a shock victory.
Starmer’s team are taking no chances with the shadow Brexit secretary continuing to steer to the left ahead of the closing membership stage of the contest. Earlier this week he vowed that he would stick to the policy of scrapping tuition fees for students and he has also revealed ten pledges along the way, these ranging from ending so-called illegal wars to hitting the highest earners with increased income tax. This is meant as a sign that he intends to maintain Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘radical values’. It also points to the fact that Starmer’s team don’t believe that the contest has yet been won, even if other signs suggest otherwise.
Next Labour Party Leader
(Odds provided by Betfred Bookmakers)
1/7 – Keir Starmer
7/1 – Rebecca Long-Bailey
12/1 – Lisa Nandy
100/1 – Emily Thornberry