The Salford MP and Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey has finally entered the race for the Labour leadership this evening after declaring that "Labour needs a socialist leader who can work with the parties movement to rebuild communities and find for policies that party can believe in".
Speaking in Tribune Mag - Rebecca placed the blame for the parties biggest defeat since 1935 upon a failure of its campaign strategy and a lack of a coherent narrative rather than repudiation of its policies.
A key mover within the Corbyn leaderships inner circle, she has obtained the backing and support of key figures within the movement including John McDonnell as well as good friend and Angela Rayner who has come out to back Rebecca after declaring her intentions for her own run at becoming deputy leader of the party.
Rebecca pulled no punches in dismissing any return to the 'Tory Lite' agenda of previous incarnations of the party, a clear swipe at the Blairites and centrists within the party who are urging for a shift to a more centralised position after the devastation the party has been left to deal with in the wake of the disastrous December 2019 General Election.
"We need a leader that can be trusted with our socialist agenda." she said.
"A leader who is totally committed to the policies and has the political backbone to defend them. We need a proud socialist to lead the Labour Party, driven by their principles and an unwavering determination to see democratic socialism in our lifetime."
"For all of these reasons and more, I have decided to stand for election to become the next leader of our party."
Rebecca said she wanted "time to reflect following the devastating results in December" before announcing her candidacy.
"I didn’t emerge from the election with a ready-made leadership campaign because my every effort during the election went into campaigning for a Labour victory.
"I’m not driven by personal ambition, but by my principles and an unwavering desire to change our country and our world for the better.
"And those principles have led me here. I’m not your typical politician. I’m not a millionaire or a landlord, and I didn’t go to a posh school.
"Instead I’m a lifelong socialist, dedicated to our movement and determined to do my bit.
"You’re as likely to see me on a picket line as you are at the dispatch box, and you can trust me to fight the establishment tooth and nail."
However not everyone in the party seems convince she is the correct person for the job, with former deputy leader Tom Watson raising his 'Worries' over the path she would take the party in. Claiming that she is seen as the Continuity Corbynism Candidate who was complicit in backing the failed manifesto and campaign which lead to his parties downfall and the smashing of the coveted Red Wall of Labours once former strongholds.
Rebecca has a fight on her hands after a recent survey of Labour members conducted by YouGov saw her trailing rival candidate Keir Starmer who is said to have a clear lead of Long Bailey and the other candidates who have now formally declared.
The plucky Salford MP has a lot of support in the North, especially within Salford which returned her to parliament with only a slightly reduced majority despite Labours election losses nationally.
If that same support can be gained from members outside of the Salford political bubble and across the whole of the UK then she may stand a chance - but with many of Labours former safe seats now fallen to the Tories in which was clearly a car crash of election, Rebecca has one hell of a fight on her hands.
If a recent YouGov poll is anything to go by then it clearly shows the party is starting to drift away from the left back to a more central ground. With that said the poll was just one of many which will happen in the coming weeks and things can be expected to change back and forth. With the leader set to be announced on the 4th of April the ball is now very much in her court.
So far Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips will be joining Rebecca on the campaign trail and seeing Labours top job, a position equally seen as a poison chalice as it is enviable.
Edited by KARL