The Labour Leadership campaign which has followed from the resignation of Ed Miliband has been one that seems to have awoken a beast within the Labour Party. Labour has seen factionalism rip through the party, both in opposition and in government, and what this leadership campaign has proven so far is that this factionalism is as rife as ever. All views within the party are represented in this campaign, from the far-left of Jeremy Corbyn to the centre-left of Liz Kendall with Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham somewhere in between.
In order to stand for the leadership, candidates must secure the nominations of 15% of the Parliamentary Labour Party, which amounts to 35 MPs. Mary Creagh and Tristram Hunt decided to stand aside due to the ability to gather the nominations leaving the four candidates below who managed to secure the nominations to battle it out to be leader of the party. Four candidates made it through: Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn. The candidates have now also been nominated by Constituency Labour Parties, a good guide to the wider feeling of the party’s membership.
Liz Kendall has been dubbed as the ‘Blairite’ candidate within the leadership election and managed to secure 41 nominations from MPs. Kendall hasn’t, however, done as well as other candidates in securing the nominations from Constituency Labour Party (CLP) groups, as only 18 CLPs nominated her throughout the United Kingdom.
She has stood on a centre-left platform and has tailored her campaign towards the economy and education in the early stages of life. This is somewhat similar to what Tony Blair stood on when he managed to secure a landslide victory in 1997. The mantra of ‘Education, Education, Education’ won over voters up and down the country and the focus on the economy was a political move that allowed Labour to be seen as the party of economic credibility.
In doing this however, Kendall has come under pressure from party members. She has questioned other candidates how they will fund some of their promises such as renationalisation of the railways and this has led to her being dubbed as a Tory from some of the far-left in the party.
Cooper has climbed the political ranks and served loyally under Gordon Brown as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. She is a political heavyweight and has had plenty of experience in government and serving as Shadow Home Secretary.
Not only is Cooper a political heavyweight, but she has got plenty of other heavyweights backing her campaign. Alan Johnson has publically endorsed her and she has received the backing of ex-Labour supporter Dan Hodges in an attempt to bring the party closer to the centre.
Cooper out-performed Kendall in both PLP and CLP nominations having secured the backing of 59 MPs and 109 CLPs.
Cooper has stood on a very similar platform to Liz by focussing on the economy and family affairs. Cooper has seen what it takes to win elections and is playing to her strengths by trying to win over the Tory swing voters who we managed to win over in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and turn Labour into a credible opposition and potentially government in 2020.
The Northern candidate and Labour’s answer to Nigel Farage. Asked about his favourite delicacies the Liverpudlian MP outlined his love for chips and gravy. He is seen as the most left wing of the three mainstream candidates, but, to some, he has flip-flopped on policy.
Loyal to both Blair and Brown and using his experience within the Department for Health to his advantage, Burnham has mainly campaigned on issues within the NHS.
His main campaign area thus far has been the integration of social care within the NHS in order to try to combat the ageing population problem that Britain faces. Burnham has outlined how this will be paid for and believes it to be an election winning strategy as it will improve the lives of the elderly who are the election kingmakers.
Burnham has found himself in times of trouble however. He has tried to appeal to far-left and centrist Labour members, which has led to criticisms of him flip-flopping to achieve his political aims. He did enjoy a lot of success with nominations however. Burnham secured 68 MPs and 111 CLPs which ranged from the centrist wing and the left wing of the party.
Where do I begin with Jez? The man who has awakened the beast that is the far-left of the Labour Party membership was once an outsider, but is now seen as a potential leader by his supporters.
Corbyn only just scraped into the leadership race as some MPs donated nominations to get him over the 35 nomination threshold; an act that those same MPs such as Margaret Beckett now regret.
CLP nominations have gone in favour of Corbyn though as he has managed to secure the nominations of 152 CLPs around the country.
Campaigning on anti-austerity, pro-nationalisation agenda, Corbyn is trying to win back those who abandoned Labour for smaller parties such as the Greens and the TUSC.
What is clear though is that Corbyn has his strategy and he is sticking to it as close as possible.