In Brief

Rebecca Long-Bailey denies she is ‘continuity candidate’

MP for Salford and Eccles has become the sixth hopeful to enter the leadership race

Rebecca Long-Bailey insisted she is “nobody's continuity candidate” as she became the sixth candidate to join the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

Speaking to Sky News, the 40-year-old said: “I'm nobody's continuity candidate, that's for sure.”

Her comment came after former home secretary Jack Straw said that Labour needs a Corbyn loyalist as leader “like a hole in the head” and former deputy leader Tom Watson said Long-Bailey “stands for Corbynism in its purest sense”.

Earlier, in an article for the Tribune magazine, she described herself as a “proud socialist” and said Labour needed a “socialist leader who can work with our movement, rebuild our communities and fight for the policies we believe in”.

The MP for Salford and Eccles, who has been shadow business secretary since 2016, is backed by deputy leadership contender Angela Rayner, and pivotal figures in the Corbyn camp, including the shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

The BBC’s assistant political editor, Norman Smith, said: “Rebecca Long-Bailey is pitching herself as the ‘carry on Corbyn’ candidate. It's no big surprise - she has long been a stalwart of Camp Corbyn. She's been ultra loyal to the Labour leader in the shadow cabinet and in the NEC.”

However, during an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “It’s quite clear that we can’t carry on as we were before but we need to recognise the reasons for [our] defeat. There were a number of reasons as to why we lost trust in our communities.

“Brexit was one. We weren’t trusted on Brexit. We weren’t trusted as a party to tackle the crisis of anti-Semitism, we weren’t trusted on our policies, no matter how radical or detailed they were, they simply didn’t hit the ground running in many of our communities in terms of demonstrating that economic credibility.”

Pushed on whether Corbyn was to blame for Labour’s defeat, she said: “Any leader who leads us into a general election defeat needs to take responsibility.”

She joins Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry, Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips in the contest. Labour's new leader will be announced on 4 April. Starmer is the current favourite with the bookies.

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