Corbyn makes Labour ballot paper at the last minute
Four Labour MPs to campaign for Labour leadership vacated by Ed Miliband
British Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn addressing delegates at the recent annual conference of the GMB union in Dublin. Mr Corbyn will campaign on an anti-austerity platform in after a last-minute surge saw him secure the support needed for a place on the party’s leadership ballot. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
Veteran leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn will campaign on an anti-austerity platform in the British Labour Party leadership race after a last-minute surge saw him get the support needed for a place on the ballot.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow health minister Liz Kendall were already set for a place on the ballot paper, having already secured more than the minimum 35 formal endorsements from MPs.
Mr Corbyn reached the threshold to be nominated with just two minutes to spare before the noon deadline yesterday.
Mr Burnham received 68 nominations from MPs, Ms Cooper 59, Ms Kendall 41 and Mr Corbyn 36. The four will battle it out in a series of public and televised hustings to replace Ed Miliband, who quit as leader after Labour’s election defeat.
Islington North MP Mr Corbyn said his place on the ballot paper marked the launch of a “broader anti-austerity movement” in the country.
“We secured these nominations as a result of a massive campaign across the country by Labour supporters urging Labour MPs to allow for a wide-ranging democratic debate within our party.“ Social media played a large part of this campaign.
“My candidacy marks the launch of a broader anti-austerity movement to shift the terms of political debate in this country by presenting an alternative to the socially devastating and widely discredited austerity agenda.”
Some Labour MPs said they nominated Mr Corbyn despite disagreeing with his politics in order to ensure that the party’s members had the widest possible choice of candidates to consider.
However Labour backbencher John Mann was scathing about his presence on the ballot paper. “So to demonstrate our desire never to win again, Islington’s Jeremy Corbyn is now a Labour leadership candidate,” Mr Mann said on Twitter. “Quite a number of Corbyn supporters saying to me that principled opposition is better than seeking an electoral majority. The elite speak.”
Mr Burnham, the bookmakers’ favourite for the contest, said was grateful for the support he had received “from across the parliamentary Labour Party – MPs from all over the country with a breadth of different experiences and viewpoints”.
Ms Cooper has called for the UK to invest 3 per cent of its GDP on science, innovation and technology, warning that the country was being left behind by international competitors. She called for government support to set incentives to boost private sector, universities and charitable investment in hi-tech projects.
She said there should be no “no-go areas” for Labour as she criticised the “narrow strategy” under Mr Miliband. “We won’t deliver a Labour government by swallowing the Tory manifesto, Tory plans or Tory myths. In the end the Tories don’t have the right values or the right answers for our country.”
Ms Cooper, who is married to former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, said Labour had failed to show it had a “credible enough plan” for jobs and career opportunities and did not persuade voters it understood the big issues of the time such as the rise of nationalism, uncertainty over Europe and the Islamic State threat.
Mr Corbyn insisted his campaign would not feature personal attacks on other candidates, following claims that the Burnham and Cooper camps were behind an attack on shadow health minister Liz Kendall by declaring the death of the “Taliban New Labour”.
Asked about such comments, Mr Corbyn told BBC2’s Daily Politics: “I do not believe in personal abuse of any sort.” Asked if the “Taliban” description was a phrase she would choose, Ms Cooper said: “That’s not one I use.” – (PA)