Jess Phillips’ bid to become the next Labour leader is looking increasingly likely to fall before the final hurdle after a major union refused to throw its weight behind her campaign.
As well as receiving nominations from at least 10% of Labour MPs and MEPs, candidates for the Labour leadership election also need to garner the support of either 5% of CLPs or 3 affiliated bodies – including 2 trade unions – to make it onto the ballot for the final membership vote.
Phillips, who is widely seen as the right-wing “Blairite” candidate, has so far failed to secure the support of any CLPS, and was pinning her hopes on the major shopworkers’ union, USDAW, endorsing her candidacy to bolster her chances of making the final ballot.
However, after a meeting of their elected executive council today, USDAW have instead opted to back the current frontrunner, Keir Starmer.
Of the other major affiliated trade unions, Unison have already backed Starmer, Unite is widely expected to support Rebecca Long-Bailey, and GMB is expected to endorse Lisa Nandy tomorrow.
The Communication Workers’ Union are as yet undecided, but seeing as they have backed the most left-wing candidate in the most recent Labour leadership elections, it is extremely unlikely they will opt to support Phillips either.
Without the support of any affiliated bodies, Phillips’ hopes of making the final ballot will rest solely on her gaining support from local CLPs.
So far, just 14 of Labour’s CLPs have nominated their preferred candidate – with Keir Starmer gaining the backing of 11 and Rebecca Long-Bailey receiving 3.
Phillips is yet to receive the support of a single CLP – and, with many viewing the Labour leadership contest as a two-horse race between Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey, the right-wing candidate faces an uphill battle to garner enough nominations to make it onto the final ballot.
Usdaw’s decision makes it highly unlikely Phillips or Thornberry will make it onto ballot – unless they can find 33 friendly CLPs to nominate them by the deadline of 14 Feb.
Nandy pinning her hopes on the GMB, whose executive meets tomorrow; RLB almost certain to get Unite.
— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) January 20, 2020