The UK's largest union has pledged its support to Labour leadership hopeful Sir Keir Starmer, a huge boost for the 57-year-old Holborn and St Pancras MP and a huge blow to Salfords Rebecca Long Bailey as Unison previously gave its support to incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn.
However it is thought that Rebecca will still gain the support of 'Red Len' McClusky' and his Unite union as well as the support of the influential and powerful Momentum group.
It shows a clear indication that the many left wingers in the party seem to be taking a shift towards a more central position after the catastrophic collapse of the red wall during the December 2019 election, if that happens it could trigger a split within the parties ranks.
The decision to back Sir Keir was taken by Unisons Labour Link committee, which is made up entirely of Labour party members. It really does look like the left could be losing its grip on power.
In a further boost to Starmers campaign he has already easily managed to secure his place in phase 2 of the leadership contest by gaining 41 nominations from his fellow MPs, a stark contrast to his closest rival Rebecca Long Bailey who so far has only secured 17 of the 22 required, closely followed a step behind by Jess Phillips who is just 1 nomination behind with 16 at the time of writing. Wigan MP Lisa Nandy has also pulled 11 nominations so far after giving a rousing performance at the PLP Hustings on Monday. Emily Thornberry has managed to gain 3 and Clive Lewis has finally got of the starting blocks with 1 nomination under his belt.
Unisons leader Dave Prentis said in a statement:
"This is a pivotal time for Labour. We believe - if elected by the membership - Keir Starmer would be a leader to bring the party together and win back the trust of the thousands of voters who deserted Labour last month.
"Keir has a clear vision to get Labour back to the winning ways of the past. He is best placed to take on Boris Johnson, hold his government to account and ensure Labour can return to power and once more change working people's lives for the better."
The union also threw its political weight behind shadow education secretary Angela Rayner as their preferred choice as deputy leader of the party.
Meanwhile in what could be another blow to Ms Long Bailey - staunch Corbynista is considering throwing his hat into the ring, spurred on his colleagues seemingly poor performance so far. There are worries that if he does enter the race it could divide the leftist vote and cost them the leadership.
The battle is far from over but so far Keir looks like he has a huge head start on the rest of the contenders, he is clearly now the bookies favourite and the man to beat.
Edited by KARL