Labour leadership candidates say they would offer rivals top jobs

February 23, 2020 7:25:34 PM

All three Labour leadership candidates have said they would offer their rivals shadow cabinet positions if they won the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy also each said they would happily serve in the winners’ team, shortly before voting opens on Monday.

Frontrunner Sir Keir said he would offer senior roles to both of his opponents if he won, as he took part in a Durham hustings on Sunday in what has been a cordial campaign.

“I would happily offer both these candidates a top job in the shadow cabinet and I’d happily serve them if they wanted me to do the same,” the shadow Brexit secretary said.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, who has struggled in the polls since being seen as an early favourite, said she would accept a job in either of their shadow cabinets and offer them both roles.

Rebecca Long-Bailey
Rebecca Long-Bailey has said she would accept a job in the shadow cabinet if she were to miss out on the top job (Aaron Chown/PA)

“I would, I think they’re both brilliant,” the shadow business secretary said. “And I would do whatever I was asked and whatever it takes to make sure, if I didn’t become leader, to make sure we were elected as the next Labour government.”

Wigan MP Ms Nandy also praised her opponents in confirming she would give them key roles.

“I like both of these people, I respect them. I would want them in my shadow cabinet doing big jobs,” she said. “But I would equally be happy to serve alongside them in whatever role they chose to give me.”

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott ruled out staying on in the top team under a new leader.

Asked if she would serve in the next shadow cabinet, she told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Well, no, I will be stepping down because I think the new leader, whether it’s Becky, whether it’s Lisa, whether it’s Keir, they’ll have to be able to choose their own shadow cabinet.

“And I was a backbencher for a few years and there is an awful lot to do on the backbenches.”

Mr Corbyn however has not ruled out taking a top job despite leading the party to its worst general election defeat since 1935.

The candidates have nearly six weeks left to secure voters’ support but many may make their selection at the first opportunity.

The winners of the leadership race and their deputies are set to be named on April 4.