The strengths and weaknesses of leading Labour MPs in the frame to succeed Jeremy Corbyn

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, centre, shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, left and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey prepare in his office at the Houses of Parliament in London. Wednesday April 3, 2019,  ahead of a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May for talks on ending the impasse over the country's departure from the European Union — a surprise about-face that left pro-Brexit members of May's Conservative Party howling with outrage. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)
Keir Starmer, left, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, right, are in the frame to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are leading the early stages of the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

After the party’s general election disaster, favourite Ms Long-Bailey is among the left-wing “Corbynista” MPs expected to stand in next year’s contest - though moderates such as Keir Starmer are also in the frame.

Yahoo News UK spoke to Prof Tim Bale, a leading politics professor from London’s Queen Mary University, for his view of the prospective hopefuls, with Mr Corbyn’s ideology looming large over the contest.

Here, Prof Bale lists the key strengths and weaknesses of the nine MPs given the best odds by the Oddschecker website on Monday afternoon.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Salford and Eccles (7/4)

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Britain's Shadow Business secretary speaks on stage during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Rebecca Long-Bailey (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Strengths: “Supported by current leadership and therefore popular with the membership. Northern MP.”

Weaknesses: “Supported by current leadership and therefore tainted by association.”

Lisa Nandy, Wigan (7/2)

Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, during the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Tuesday September 24, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Lisa Nandy (Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment)

Strengths: “Done or sponsored lots of interesting work on why Labour has found it difficult to hold on to northern towns. Quite an experienced media performer. Generally well regarded in the media.”

Weaknesses: “Hasn’t been in a leadership position. Resigned from the Jeremy Corbyn frontbench.”

Keir Starmer, Holborn and St Pancras (8/1)

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer during a Labour Party press conference in central London.
Keir Starmer (PA)

Strengths: “Safe pair of hands. Very much a moderate. Widely regarded as a clever and competent media performer.”

Weaknesses: “Not a Corbynista. Some would say he lacks charisma.”

Jess Phillips, Birmingham Yardley (12/1)

Labour MP Jess Phillips on stage during an anti-Brexit rally in Parliament Square in London, after it was announced that the Letwin amendment, which seeks to avoid a no-deal Brexit on October 31, was accepted, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statement in the House of Commons, on his new Brexit deal.
Jess Phillips (PA)

Strengths: “Would take the attack to the Tories, many of whom fear her. Eminently relatable. Big personality.”

Weaknesses: “Has not minced her words about Corbyn and the direction he took the party.”

Angela Rayner, Ashton-under-Lyne (20/1)

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner speaks during a fringe event on the third day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Monday September 23, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Angela Rayner (Isabel Infantes/EMPICS Entertainment)

Strengths: “Backstory. On the left but not a Corbynista sock puppet. Has performed well in her shadow education brief.”

Weaknesses: “Not a Corbynista.”

Yvette Cooper, Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (22/1)

Yvette Cooper MP pictured at a Centre for European Reform fringe event on Brexit, during the Labour Party annual conference at the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC), in Liverpool. Picture date: Tuesday September 25th, 2018. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment.
Yvette Cooper (Matt Crossick/EMPICS Entertainment)

Strengths: “Safe pair of hands. Ministerial experience. Has performed well as a select committee chair.”

Weaknesses: “Has fought and lost a previous leadership contest. Perhaps seen as too New Labour.”

Clive Lewis, Norwich South (33/1)

Clive Lewis arrives for the funeral of Frank Dobson at St Pancras Church in London.
Clive Lewis (PA)

Strengths: “Good media performer as a former journalist.”

Weaknesses: “Not a confirmed Corbynista.”

Dan Jarvis, Barnsley Central (33/1)

Dan Jarvis during a TV interview after being elected as the Sheffield City Region Mayor following the ballot count at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Dan Jarvis (PA)

Strengths: “Good backstory. Won a mayoral contest. Northern MP.”

Weaknesses: “Seems to have faded from the public eye in the last parliamentary term.”

Emily Thornberry, Islington South and Finsbury (40/1)

Emily Thornberry arrives for the funeral of Frank Dobson at St Pancras Church in London.
Emily Thornberry (PA)

Strengths: “Eager media performer. Combative parliamentarian.”

Weaknesses: “Seen, wrongly, by some as too posh. The St George’s flag incident.”

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