Rebecca Long-Bailey vows to 'bring democracy to the economy' as leader

Rebecca Long-Bailey vows to ‘bring democracy to the economy’ as party leader despite a new poll predicting Sir Keir Starmer will beat her in the final round

  • Rebecca Long-Bailey launched her Labour leadership campaign in Manchester
  • She vowed to scrap the House of Lords and end the ‘gentleman’s club’ of politics
  • New YouGov poll shows Sir Keir Starmer on course to beat Rebecca Long-Bailey
  • Suggests Sir Keir would beat his rival by 63 per cent to 37 per cent in final round
  • Last YouGov poll had Sir Keir beating Ms Long-Bailey 61 per cent to 39 per cent 

Rebecca Long-Bailey revealed her radical plan to ‘bring democracy to the economy’, abolish the House of Lords, end the ‘gentleman’s club’ of politics and devolve power to the regions after admitting the British public did not trust Labour over Brexit and antisemitism at the last election. 

Speaking at her leadership campaign launch in Manchester this evening, Ms Long-Bailey told the party faithful she would replace ‘the only unelected second chamber in the whole of Europe’ with an elected senate and devolve power from Westminster to a regional or local level. 

The leadership hopeful added that it was ‘not enough to expect democracy in our politics – we need democracy in our economy too’ as she seemed to double down on the left-wing policies of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The MP for Salford and Eccles and key Corbyn ally in the last election used her campaign speech to admit ‘many didn’t trust [Labour in 2019], whether it was Brexit, whether it was tackling antisemitism – they didn’t believe in us enough’.

She added: ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do to rebuild trust with the British public because it’s no good promising the world if people don’t trust you with the basics.’ 

The speech comes after the publication of a new poll which showed the battle is increasingly a two horse race between Sir Keir Starmer and Ms Long-Bailey. 

A YouGov survey suggested Sir Keir had extended his lead over his rivals with the shadow Brexit secretary on course to beat Ms Long-Bailey in the final round of voting by 63 per cent to 37 per cent. 

Speaking at her leadership campaign launch in Manchester this evening, Rebecca Long-Bailey told the party faithful she would replace ‘the only unelected second chamber in the whole of Europe’ with an elected senate and devolve power from Westminster to a regional or local level

A YouGov poll of 1,005 Labour members, pictured, found that Keir Starmer was the clear favourite to win the nomination

That is an increase for Sir Keir, pictured, on the company’s poll last month which put him on 61 per cent and Ms Long-Bailey on 39 per cent

That is an increase for Sir Keir on the company’s poll last month which put him on 61 per cent and Ms Long-Bailey on 39 per cent. The recent poll numbers are likely to cause alarm in Ms Long-Bailey’s team as she appears to be losing ground to her fellow front runner.

Ms Long-Bailey tonight admitted Labour ‘needs to look like a government in waiting – but we can’t win by throwing away the very things that give power of purpose’. 

She added: ‘The fight for a liveable climate, for workers’ rights, for democratic ownership – these struggles are ultimately indivisible, we cannot sacrifice one in pursuit of another and expect to succeed, so we must unite, we must rebuild, and when we win, we win for all of us, that’s the Labour party I believe in. And that is our path to power.’  

The Left-wing hopeful seemingly voiced understanding for Brexit voters, saying: ‘The story from the last couple of years is that many people instinctively feel there is something wrong with their laws being drafted hundreds of miles away by a distant and largely unaccountable bureaucratic elite in Brussels.’

She added that when she was growing up, Westminster did not feel much less distant to her – ‘and it still doesn’t today; that’s why I want to shake up the way government works’.

The speech comes after the publication of a new poll which showed the battle is increasingly a two horse race between Sir Keir Starmer and Ms Long-Bailey

Ms Long-Bailey, 40, is the hard-Left daughter of a Salford docker, groomed to take the helm of the Corbynite project by self-declared Marxist John McDonnell.

She grew up in Old Trafford, Manchester, where she was exposed to left-wing politics from a young age.

Her father Jimmy worked as a docker at Salford Quays and trade union representative at Shell at a time when workers’ collectives wielded enormous power and threats of staff walkouts struck fear into ministers.

On graduating from a Catholic high school, she worked in a pawn shop – an eye-opening experience which she says taught her ‘more about the struggles of life than any degree or qualification ever could’.

After holding down other jobs such as a call-centre operator, a furniture factory worker and a postwoman, she eventually studied to become a solicitor.

‘I want to sweep away the House of Lords – the only unelected second chamber in the whole of Europe – and I want to replace it with a new elected senate based outside of London.

‘We will end the gentleman’s club of politics and we will be setting out to go further by devolving power out of Westminster to a regional or local level. 

‘An elected senate would have a new democratic legitimacy and should have new powers to reflect that.

‘In my view this should include holding the government to account on the impact of new legislation on our wealth, our wellbeing and our environment.’

Ms Long-Bailey voiced support for a kind of socialism where everyone was free to climb and succeed in a society where ‘structural inequality and financial insecurity are gone’. 

‘And that means expanding alternative models of ownership and collective bargaining rights in our economy, that means fighting racism and xenophobia that means fighting for LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality.

‘And it means rebalancing our economy so every town, city and region can thrive again with renewed pride – pride rooted in solidarity, inclusivity and internationalism.

‘But of course none of this will happen without a Labour government.’

A new YouGov poll showed Sir Keir Starmer is on course to win the Labour leadership race

An earlier Survation poll of Labour members for the LabourList website published on Wednesday suggested Ms Long-Bailey had the support of 42 per cent of members with Sir Keir second with 37 per cent. 

Jess Phillips had the support of nine per cent of members and Lisa Nandy had the backing of seven per cent. 

Emily Thornberry today vowed to be an ‘unashamedly socialist’ Labour leader if she takes over from Jeremy Corbyn as she also pledged to quit if she did badly in the top job. 

Ms Thornberry formally launched her leadership campaign with a speech in her home town of Guildford this evening as she desperately tried to make an impact on the contest. 

She was last out of the five candidates with just one per cent of support – squeaking into the next stage of the leadership race on Monday after managing to secure the backing of the required 22 MPs needed to progress.

Now the five candidates must win the nominations of 33 local constituency parties or three Labour affiliates, including at least two trade unions, to enter the final postal ballot of members. 

Party members will then vote between February 21 to April 2 with the winner announced on April 4. 

Emily Thornberry vows to be an ‘unashamedly socialist’ Labour leader if she wins the battle to take over from Jeremy Corbyn 

Emily Thornberry vowed to be an ‘unashamedly socialist’ Labour leader if she takes over from Jeremy Corbyn and pledged to quit if she did badly in the top job.

Ms Thornberry formally launched her leadership campaign with a speech in her home town of Guildford on January 17 as she desperately tried to make an impact on the contest.

‘We must not make the mistake of defining it as a choice between who will take us to the left, or to the centre or to the right, because the only issue that really matters now is who will take us forward,’ she said.

‘Who will stand up and lead the fight? Who will give us strength, experience and passion? Who will give us an unashamedly socialist but deliverable manifesto? Who will win back the voters we lost in the last two years? And crucially, who will take us to victory and take us back into government?

‘And it’s because I believe I have the skill, the values and the vision to achieve all of those goals that I decided to stand up and fight for the Labour leadership.’

Emily Thornberry launched her leadership bid in Guildford as she pledged to bring forward an ‘unashamedly socialist’ manifesto if she takes over from Jeremy Corbyn

She also promised that she would step down as Labour leader if people did not believe she was on course to win the next general election.

She said: ‘If I’m elected leader, and if I believe at any point, or you tell me, or my colleagues tell me, or the polls tell me, that I can’t win an election and take us into power, I will always put the Labour party first.

‘I will do what I believe is best to ensure we get a Labour government. So in those circumstances, I would stand down and give someone else the chance to achieve the only goal that counts for our country: getting a Labour Prime Minister back in power.’

Ms Thornberry warned that Labour faces ‘a long, tough road back to power’ after the party last month suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935.

She set out why she believes she is best placed to take the fight to the Tories.

‘In my 42 years as a member of the Labour Party, there is no fight or campaign our movement has waged where I have not been on the frontline,’ she said.

‘And since coming to Parliament 15 years ago, I’ve also been on the frontline in the fights against climate change, Universal Credit, and anti-abortion laws in Northern Ireland.

‘I’ve led the charge as shadow foreign secretary against Donald Trump and the war in Yemen.

‘And in the two years I shadowed Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, I showed him up every time for the lying, reckless charlatan that he is.’

Ms Thornberry squeaked into the next stage of the leadership race on Monday after managing to secure the backing of the required 22 MPs needed to progress.

Sir Keir Starmer refuses to say if he is politically closer to Tony Blair or Jeremy Corbyn as he vows to rid Labour of its warring factions if he wins the party’s leadership contest

Sir Keir Starmer refused to say whether he is politically closer to Tony Blair or Jeremy Corbyn and said Labour must learn lessons from its last four general election defeats and not just 2019. 

The Labour leadership frontrunner is viewed as a moderate candidate in the race to replace Mr Corbyn. 

But he would not be drawn on where he falls on the Labour political spectrum as he insisted he does not ‘need somebody else’s name or badge’ to succeed. 

Meanwhile, he said that some of his friends are Tories and that he judges people ‘by what they say and who they are’ rather than by their political affiliation.

He also vowed to rid Labour of its various warring factions to create a unified party capable of beating the Conservatives. 

The comments from Sir Keir came after a poll suggested he is in second place in the race for the Labour top job with Corbynite candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey on course for a narrow victory.

Sir Keir Starmer refused to say whether he is politically closer to Tony Blair or Jeremy Corbyn

Sir Keir was asked during a BBC interview where he would put himself on the party’s political spectrum if Mr Blair was at one end and Mr Corbyn was at the other. 

But he said: ‘I want to lead a Labour Party that is trusted enough to bring about fundamental change. 

‘I don’t need somebody else’s name or badge in order to do that, and what we forget in all this is that all the leaders in the Labour Party, all the teams of leaders, they have to do it for the circumstances as they are. 

‘So, our job is to put forward that radical and relevant programme for the next decade and the decade after.’ 

Sir Keir stressed that one of the key tasks for the next Labour leader will be to unite the party which has been rocked by divisions and constant infighting since Mr Corbyn took charge in 2015. 

The shadow Brexit secretary said: ‘We need to unify the party and I think I can do that. 

‘We spent far too much time fighting ourselves and not fighting the Tories. Factions have been there in the Labour Party – they’ve got to go.’

Meanwhile, he insisted that in order to chart a path back to power the party needed to look beyond its devastating defeat last month and also examine its three previous failures at the ballot box. 

He said: ‘The other thing that we have to bear in mind is there are many reasons we just lost the election in 2019. 

‘But we’ve lost four. We’ve lost four elections in a row. And therefore, identifying a particular thing in this election isn’t going to help.’ 

Sir Keir also rejected the tribal Labour loyalty of some of his more hardline colleagues as he said he does have friends who are Tories. 

‘Yes, of course I do,’ he said. ‘I have friends and colleagues I’ve done a lot of cross-party working [with]. 

‘On some issues there is a lot of cross party working, and rightly so. So I judge people by what they say and who they are, rather than which party they’re in.’  

 

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