The 48-hour window to apply to be a temporary supporter closed on Thursday, with applicants who meet the eligibility requirements being able to vote in the leader and deputy leader elections. They will have a choice of picking one of five candidates Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry as the new Labour leader on April 4. The Labour Party announced last night that 14,700 registered supporters had signed up.
But this is a huge drop compared to the 180,000 in 2015, when Jeremy Corbyn was selected to replace Ed Miliband.
This could be bad news for Ms Long-Bailey, who is currently the frontrunner after topping the latest opinion polls.
Ms Long-Bailey, seen as the continuity candidate for Mr Corbyn’s supporters, would benefit from a fresh surge in younger, new Labour supporters.
Matthew Goodwin, a professor of politics at the University of Kent, said Labour needed to do three things to win back voter’s trust following last month’s dismal election results.
Rebecca Long Bailey is currently the front runner to replace Mr Corbyn
He said the candidates need to gain voters’ trust on the economy, as well as elect a leader who can unite the party and and appeal to those who support Brexit.
He said: “This could be a potentially long walk in opposition.
“There is no guarantee that Labour have hit rock bottom yet.
“The Conservatives have changed their appeal to those working-class voters, and Labour has now got a serious competitor in its heartlands.”
Ms Long-Bailey wants to end the “gentlemen’s club of politics”
Rebecca Long-Bailey and Emily Thornberry will launch their campaigns for the Labour leadership this evening.
Ms Long-Bailey will launch her bid in Manchester at 7pm, with a subtle dig at shadow business secretary Mr Starmer.
Her campaign will promise to end the “gentlemen’s club of politics” if she wins on April 4.
She will say: “Where I grew up, Westminster, even London, felt like a million miles away.
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Emily Thornberry is going back to her home town of Guildford this evening
“The story of the last few years is that many people feel there is something wrong with their laws being drafted hundreds of miles away by a distant and largely unaccountable bureaucratic elite in Brussels.
“But I’ll be honest, Westminster didn’t feel much closer, and it still doesn’t today.
“That’s why I want to shake up the way Government works and deliver a clear message to voters: we will put power where it belongs – in your hands.
“The British state needs a seismic shock, to prise it open at all levels to the people – their knowledge, their skills, their demands.”
The next Labour leader will be announced on April 4
Ms Long-Bailey will add “proper democracy” takes power away from the “offshore bank account and places it on the ballot paper, so workers can have more and chief executives less, and we can tackle the climate crisis with a Green New Deal that unites all of Labour’s heartlands”.
She will say: “We will end the gentlemen’s club of politics and we will be setting out plans to go further by devolving power out of Westminster to a regional and local level.”
She scored a huge boost in her quest to lead the party after securing the backing of the Momentum campaign group on Thursday.
Though the result was not unexpected, the left-winger will now be boosted by the group which has long supported the outgoing leader.
Labour needs to do three things to win back voter’s trust
Writing in the Guardian ahead of her launch, she called for Labour to “pick a fight with the political establishment” in order to win power.
She wrote: “Instead of winning procedural games in parliament, we should have used the aftermath of the referendum result to go around the country, holding public meeting after public meeting to stir up a movement for real change.”
Meanwhile, Ms Thornberry is going back to her home town of Guildford this evening at 5.15pm.
He laugh will take place near the Bellfields Estate where she lived from the age of seven until she was 15 and will play up her foreign policy credentials.
She will claim she can be the “battle-hardened” woman to lead the fightback against Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
But she may have a lot of convincing to do as this week’s Labour List Survation poll gave her just one percent of the vote share.