There will be no black and minority ethnic candidates in the contest to be leader or deputy leader of the Labour party after the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, pulled out at the last minute.
Ali confirmed she would no longer be standing for the deputy leadership less than 30 minutes before the deadline for nominations, leaving the 25 MPs who had nominated her free to nominate one of the other five candidates, all of whom made it on to the shortlist.
Candidates needed to get nominations from 35 Labour MPs to get their names on the ballot to be deputy leader, with the deadline for nominations at midday on Wednesday.
Stella Creasy, Angela Eagle and Ben Bradshaw all made it over the line
thanks to Ali’s decision to bow out. Before that, Creasy was on 31
nominations, Eagle on 28 and Bradshaw on 25.
The frontrunners Tom Watson and Caroline Flint made it on to the ballot
for deputy leader with 59 and 41 nominations respectively.
Bradshaw, the MP for Exeter, tweeted his thanks to Ali for what he
described as an “incredibly selfless decision”.
The last-minute dash for nominations was similar to scenes before the
deadline to get on the ballot for the party’s leadership race on Monday. The
MP for Islington North and a prominent figure on the left of the party,
Jeremy Corbyn, made it on to the ballot with minutes to spare after MPs
who do not intend to give him their vote nominated him in order to ensure
a wider debate.
Andy Burnham, the shadow heath secretary and current frontrunner,
received 68 nominations from MPs, mainly from the north of England. The
shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, received 59, the shadow minister
for care, Liz Kendall, 41 and Corbyn, 36.
The leadership candidates will take part in a one-hour Newsnight special in
front of an invited TV audience in Nuneaton on Wednesday night. Ballot
papers will be dispatched on 14 August, voting closes on 10 September and
the result will be announced on 12 September at a special conference.