Within hours the ONLY anti-austerity leadership hopeful wins over more support than Creagh
by Luke James and Joana Ramiro
JEREMY CORBYN’S most senior supporter implores Labour MPs today to back the left candidate’s leadership bid in the “spirit of democracy.”
Mr Corbyn has already secured more nominations than shadow minister Mary Creagh, who has been campaigning for weeks.
Now shadow cabinet member and deputy party chairman Jon Trickett has called on colleagues to ensure that Mr Corbyn receives the 35 nominations needed to make it onto the ballot paper.
He told the Star: “We should have a candidate who’s going to contest the austerity consensus and will tackle deeply engrained inequality and class issues in British society.
“The whole party is stronger when every part of it is involved in the debate.
“Colleagues may not agree with every part of Jeremy’s vision, but surely everybody recognises that a voice such as his should be heard.”
Mr Corbyn sensationally stepped forward on Thursday evening, saying he wanted to give grassroots Labour members a voice in a “broad debate.”
Rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Ms Creagh all have well-established leadership campaigns.
But, minutes after Mr Corbyn’s announcement, his supporters began canvassing 30 MPs whom they had identified as sympathetic.
His team have revealed that 10 MPs have already pledged their support — putting him ahead of Ms Creagh, who has six nominations.
As well as Mr Trickett, 2010 Labour leadership candidate Diane Abbott, Socialist Campaign Group chairman John McDonnell and legendary backbencher Dennis Skinner are among senior MPs backing him.
The Islington North MP has also been boosted by the enthusiastic support of newly elected Labour MPs.
Leeds East MP Richard Burgon, Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith and Norwich South MP Clive Lewis are all campaigning for Mr Corbyn.
And more than 1,000 people have signed an online petition calling on Labour MPs to ensure that the left candidate is on the ballot paper.
Mr Corbyn described the start to his campaign as “really encouraging.”
“Support has been pouring in from Labour Party members across the country who are desperate for a fully democratic election and policy debate,” he said.“All we are asking for is a truly democratic choice in this election.”
Mr Corbyn can also expect to be formally endorsed by some of the 15 trade unions affiliated to Labour before the close of nominations.
Unite’s position will be decided by its members following an open hustings event later this month.
However, assistant general secretary Steve Turner said yesterday that the campaigning MP’s inclusion was a welcome surprise.
“I’m pleased that Jeremy has put his name forward, to be honest with you,” he said.
“It’ll open up a whole new different debate internally within the leadership challenge right now, so I’m happy about that.”
But Mr Corbyn’s supporters were clear that they need the nominations of some MPs who have publicly backed Mr Burnham.
Mr Trickett said: “Andy Burnham has significantly more supporters than he needs to get himself onto the candidate list.
“And, therefore, there might be supporters of Andy, who in the spirit of democracy, should now think about switching to ensure there is a left candidate on the list.”
A source in Mr Burnham’s team said yesterday they would be prepared to help other candidates, but only by lending “one or two” nominations.
Mr Corbyn will have the chance to make his case to MPs at a hustings event for the Parliamentary Labour Party on Monday evening.
Nominations open the next morning and close a week later on Monday June 15, when candidates must have the support of 35 MPs to stay in the contest.