Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lavery Throws Weight Behind Long-Bailey Bid

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lavery Throws Weight Behind Long-Bailey Bid

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor

WANSBECK MP Ian Lavery has warned that Labour must "never again" be seen to accuse its core supporters of being "ignorant or ill-educated", as he announced he would not be standing for the party leadership.

Mr Lavery, the party chair, put an end to speculation that he could stand to replace Jeremy Corbyn by announcing that he was endorsing Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Business Secretary - and saying it's "about time" the party was led by a woman.

She is seen as a candidate on the left of the party. There had been reports that Mr Lavery might stand against her, potentially splitting the left vote, but his announcement establishes her firmly as a front-runner for the role. Sir Keir Starmer, the Shadow Brexit Secretary, is seen as the favoured candidate from the party's centre. So far, four other candidates - Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy, Clive Lewis and Jess Phillips - have also announced they intend to stand Mr Lavery also set out his view that Labour's refusal to accept the result of the Brexit referendum had cost it support in December's election - and gave the appearance that it looked down on pro-Brexit voters.

He said: "Ahead of the election, I made clear my concerns with our position on Brexit and what it could mean for our support in areas that voted to Leave. While this was not the only issue at play, I am sad to have seen these predictions born out by the result.

"Our party needs a leader who can not only represent our 'heartlands', as well as winning over new supporters, but to listen to the people who live in them too. We must ensure that we never again are seen to take working class communities for granted or to write them off as ignorant or ill educated."

He said it had been "humbling to receive so much support from memjonathan bers and colleagues who have encouraged me to stand for leader of the Labour party" but he would be "throwing my full support behind Rebecca Long-Bailey". …

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