Tristram Hunt addresses Labour party conference. Photo: Getty Images
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Tristram Hunt endorses Liz Kendall

Tristram Hunt has confirmed he will not be standing for the Labour leadership, and has instead endorsed Liz Kendall's campaign.

Tristram Hunt has confirmed that he will not be standing for the Labour leadership and has endorsed Liz Kendall’s bid.

The Shadow Education Secretary took a swipe at Andy Burnham, the frontrunner, saying that winning power back was a “bigger challenge than simply rediscovering, in my colleague Andy Burnham’s words, the beating heart of Labour”.

Hunt said that Kendall had the right ideas, and the “right leadership mettle” to lead Labour back to power. It’s a further boost for the Kendall campaign, which has also been bolstered by recruiting Mark Ferguson, the popular ex-editor of LabourList, as an aide. 

Now listen to Stephen discussing the Labour leadership contest on the NS podcast:

 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics. 

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Labour to strip "abusive" registered supporters of their vote in the leadership contest

The party is asking members to report intimidating behaviour - but is vague about what this entails. 

Labour already considered blocking social media users who describe others as "scab" and "scum" from applying to vote. Now it is asking members to report abuse directly - and the punishment is equally harsh. 

Registered and affiliated supporters will lose their vote if found to be engaging in abusive behaviour, while full members could be suspended. 

Labour general secretary Iain McNicol said: “The Labour Party should be the home of lively debate, of new ideas and of campaigns to change society.

“However, for a fair debate to take place, people must be able to air their views in an atmosphere of respect. They shouldn’t be shouted down, they shouldn’t be intimidated and they shouldn’t be abused, either in meetings or online.

“Put plainly, there is simply too much of it taking place and it needs to stop."

Anyone who comes across abusive behaviour is being encouraged to email validation@labour.org.uk.

Since the bulk of Labour MPs decided to oppose Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, supporters of both camps have traded insults on social media and at constituency Labour party gatherings, leading the party to suspend most meetings until after the election. 

In a more ominous sign of intimidation, a brick was thrown through the window of Corbyn challenger Angela Eagle's constituency office. 

McNicol said condemning such "appalling" behaviour was meaningless unless backed up by action: “I want to be clear, if you are a member and you engage in abusive behaviour towards other members it will be investigated and you could be suspended while that investigation is carried out. 

“If you are a registered supporter or affiliated supporter and you engage in abusive behaviour you will not get a vote in this leadership election."

What does abusive behaviour actually mean?

The question many irate social media users will be asking is, what do you mean by abusive? 

A leaked report from Labour's National Executive Committee condemned the word "traitor" as well as "scum" and "scab". A Labour spokeswoman directed The Staggers to the Labour website's leadership election page, but this merely stated that "any racist, abusive or foul language or behaviour at meetings, on social media or in any other context" will be dealt with. 

But with emotions running high, and trust already so low between rival supporters, such vague language is going to provide little confidence in the election process.