To have the Unite Union in your corner is one hell positive for Labour leadership hopeful and Salford & Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey, and with the might of Red Len's union behind her she is now looking like a force to be reckoned with, however, she is not over the next hurdle just yet as she still requires at least one of the smaller unions to throw their support behind her to push through to the final round.
In a glowing endorsement McCluskey heaped praise on the Shadow Business Secretary declaring that she had both the brains and the brilliance to defeat Boris at the ballot box. It has to be said though, it was not as if this was unexpected, if anything it was inevitable that Unite members would be backing the left wing candidate, she is a member of the Unite trade union after all.
“She is standing for unity, socialism and the determination to make Johnson’s term in office a short-lived one.”
Richard Burgon was the unions choice for deputy, a roll which has been vacant since Tom Watson stepped down from just before the catastrophic November 2019 election which left Labour languishing in limbo on the ropes.
Ms Long-Bailey said she was honoured to receive the nomination adding:
“I didn’t see myself as the kind of person who could ever become an MP. It was Unite, my trade union, that supported me to realise my potential.
“Unite’s future candidates programme helped me navigate the convoluted process of becoming a candidate and gave me a base of moral support which I will treasure forever. In unions, working people came together to secure a better life for themselves through achievements like the weekend, better wages and parental leave.
“The Labour Party must draw inspiration from this legacy by giving economic power back to communities and enabling them to take charge of their own futures.
“We must work with unions to create a Green New Deal, where good jobs and industries in every part of the country are built on and improved, not abandoned. As a living link to organised working-class communities, trade unions are the lifeblood of the Labour movement. They will be at the heart of our path back to power.”
There is still a long way to go before the vote is counted and it will be an uphill battle for Rebecca as both her rivals Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy have seen massive growth in support over the past few weeks.
Lisa in particular was given a massive boost after securing the backing of the GMB Union and its half a million members after her main rival for the ballot - Jess Phillips - dropped out of the race declaring that she could not unite the party. The GMP said that Nandy was a breath of fresh air.
Her exit cleared the way for Ms Nandy to stand against Long-Bailey and Starmer as she has been pitched as the candidate with a reformist platform.
There does seem to be a clear shift in support by the unions but as was said above, it ain't over yet and there is still a long way to go before the announcement is made on April 4th and the heir to Corbyn's throne is announced.
Meanwhile Rebecca's fellow MP Barbara Keeley has revealed that she was courageously in a private battle with breast cancer in the months both running up to and during the general election.