Home   Kent   News   Article

Labour leadership race: 5 candidates get to the next stage of the contest as Kent party members hit out at lack of hustings


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

The battle to become the next leader of the Labour party has seen five candidates reach the next stage — as party members in Kent have hit out at the lack of a hustings.

Of the seven leadership candidates, four had already secured enough support to be in the race: Sir Keir Starmer, Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey. Clive Lewis dropped out of the race after failing to find enough backing from fellow MPs.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has launched his party's manifesto for the European elections in Medway
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has launched his party's manifesto for the European elections in Medway

Emily Thornberry was reported to be struggling to get the necessary support from 22 MPs and MEPs but managed to get over the line in the last few minutes.

The shortlist announcement has been coupled with complaints against Labour party chiefs after it emerged activists and members in the county will not get a chance to quiz the leadership or deputy leadership candidates at hustings in Kent or Medway.

The party NEC has arranged for seven hustings meetings but the closest will be in London, while no events have been arranged anywhere in the south east.

The current favourite to take on the role, Sir Keir Starmer, says he is disappointed that the campaign organisers have excluded the region from the hustings.

He tweeted: “I’m disappointed the Party hasn’t organised hustings in the South East, East of England or Yorkshire. Labour can win the next election, but only if we win back people’s trust across the UK. I’ll be writing to the NEC tomorrow asking them to reconsider.”

Labour leadership candidates Kier Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey
Labour leadership candidates Kier Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Jess Phillips, Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey

The news has enraged some Kent Labour members. Cllr Tristan Osborne, a Medway councillor who has been openly critical of Jeremy Corbyn, said he was fuming that candidates would not be coming to Kent.

The Labour South East MEP John Ashworth said he was amazed and also urged party managers to rethink, saying members deserved to have the chance to quiz candidates in person as it is the single most important decision they will take after the "disastrous" election.

In a stinging letter to the chairman of the NEC chairman Jenny Formby, he said the situation was unacceptable and pointed out that the party would not be in a position to form a government if it failed to win seats in the area. "If you put yourself forward you expect the schedule to be tough."

The winner will be announced at a special conference on April 4.

Head to our politics page for expert analysis and all the latest news from your politicians and councils.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More