Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Labour Leadership Contest: Here\\\'s Your Need-To-Know

The Labour Leadership Contest: Here's Your Need-To-Know

The Debrief: The Labour leadership contest is droning on and on and we thought you’d like a proper rundown on everything you need to know about it. Well, at least the candidates…

Right now, only the people who have already signed up to the Labour party’s supporters or members list are eligible to vote for the leader, but we still thought it was worth you knowing who the different candidates are, as the eventual winner will (presumably) go on to fight against the Tory leader (it might not be David Cameron, as he’s claimed he’ll be standing down before the next election, although some people have said he’s bluffing) in  2020.

So here they all are:

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn

Slogan: Straight talking, honest politics

About: Hearkening back to the old days of the Labour party, he’s politically to the left of Ed Miliband,

On women: He wants a 50/50 gender split in the Cabinet, as well as proper reform of PHSE education and to reverse cuts that will disproportionately affect women: ‘The time for timid measures is over. Women deserve fair pay, fair chances and unflinching support in the face of violence and abuse. [My] proposals would go a long way towards building a society where women and men exist as equals and flourish.’

On young people: As well as pledging an end to tuition fees and a return of student maintenance loans and grants, he wants to bring back the EMA – financial incentives for people from lower-income students to attend higher education.

Housing: He wants to bring in caps on rent increases, and use government funding to improve council and housing association properties.

(He’ll fund all of this by scrapping Trident, the nuclear arms the UK has on hold in case the US needs to use them)

Who supports him? Charlotte Church, Russell Brand, the trade unions, and many people who voted for the Greens and trade unionists at the General Election. A lot of Tories also tried to join the party, so that they could vote for Corbyn, as they’re convinced he will never win an election against them.

Who doesn’t support him? He’s attracting a lot of criticism from within the Labour ranks and Tories for being way too far to the left of the political spectrum.

Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract and Castleford

Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper


Slogan: Proud of our values, the strength to win

One of the leading members of the Labour cabinet for the past few years, she’s one of the first MPs to criticise Twitter for its poor approach to dealing with trolls. If she wins she’ll be the first female Labour leader to actually face an election, and says this makes her the truly ‘radical’ choice.

On women: She’s keen on childcare, saying that when we talk economy, ‘I think we shouldn’t just talk about the trains and planes and the boys’ toys. Actually, in a modern economy, it’s about childcare.’

Yvette also introduced the Tory-scrapped Sure Start, which offered free services to young children and their parents.

She’s clued up on attacks on women’s rights, and she wants protest-free buffer zones around abortion clinics (so that people using them can do so safely without a bunch of vitriolic protestors screaming at them outside)

On young people: As well as getting a lot more young people applying to become MPs, she wants there to be less snobbery around vocational courses at uni and isn’t in support of rises in tuition fees.

On housing: She wants 300,000 new homes to be built every year to help tackle the housing crisis.

Who supports her? Baroness Doreen Lawrence, comedian Sarah Solemani, Ed Balls (her husband, the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer)

Who doesn’t support her? Her slightly dodgy history within the Labour party – she’s supported a lot of their Blairite policies, eg going to war with Iraq, some preliminary ways of cutting benefits which supposedly paved the way for the Tories to make further cuts – means that she’s not won over the crowd she ought to.

Andy Burnham, MP for Leigh

Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham

Slogan: Be part of the change

Another leading member of Gordon Brown’s cabinet and then Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinets, he’s previously run for leader and has been a vocal critic of the Conservatives’ and the Coalition’s policies on the NHS. Also, while being a vocal supporter of gay rights (like the rest of the leader candidates, we might add), he’s also a Catholic and he actually told the Pope to be a bit more liberal on gay rights.

On women: He’s pledged a 50/50 gender split cabinet, he wants women aged between 50 and retirement to get a little more government attention instead of being squeezed out of jobs, and wants to tackle the pay gap (which mainly affects women in their forties)

On young people: He wants all young people working to get the same minimum wage as people over 25, wants a graduate tax instead of tuition fees, and wants to ban unpaid internships

On housing: He wants regulation of the private rented sector and wants councils to be able to build more social housing.

Who supports him? Um… John Prescott. And the north. Oh, and everyone who wanted Justice for the 96 who died in the 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, as he helped launch an second inquiry into what happened.

Who’s against him? The rest of the candidates, along with The Sun newspaper, who infamously have a lot of sway over who gets voted in come a General Election.

Liz Kendall

Liz Kendall
Liz Kendall

Slogan: A Fresh Start

She’s probably not going to win, as she holds the most right-wing views of the candidates, but this potentially makes her most likely to actually win an election in a country where 50% of the country voted for parties more right wing than Labour at the last election.

On women: She says women should be judged on their feelings, not their family life, also told an interviewer to ‘fuck off’ when they asked about her weight. While she’s committed to ‘tackling inequality from birth’, and wants to end the pay gap there’s not much about young women and the fact she wants free schools to remain (remember, they can refuse to teach sex education) doesn’t bode well for young women.

On young people: She’ll make sure the student grant still exists (the one George Osborne wants to cut), but she’s making no more promises on tuition fees.

On housing: She wants to build more houses and wants to make it easier for young people to own or rent, but hasn’t made it explicit how she’d do this. 

Who supports her? David Miliband – remember, Ed Miliband’s brother! And the most right-wing of Labourites.

Who’s against her? Every Labour MP or supporter to the left of her…

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Tags: Pure Politics