The Labour leadership candidates' first hustings. Photo: Getty
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Who are the MPs running to be Labour's next leader?

Who will succeed Ed Miliband as Labour leader?

Ed Miliband resigned as leader of the Labour party following its election defeat. Which Labour figures are in the running to replace him? Nominations close on 15 June. Here are the contenders:
 

Andy Burnham

Shadow health secretary, MP for Leigh since 2001, former special adviser to Tessa Jowell. Health Secretary, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and other frontbench positions during New Labour years.

Burnham is the most likely to replace Ed Miliband, and has been manoeuvring for a while. When his speech received three standing ovations last party conference, an aide remarked to me: "A record for a non-leader!"

He’s the bookies’ favourite to replace Miliband.

In spite of remaining in his post as shadow health secretary, Burnham hasn’t been popular among the Miliband inner circle or the neo-Blairites. The former doesn’t matter any more now, and the latter is a symptom of how high his support is among the unions.

Strengths: Union support, northern working-class appeal, lovely eyelashes.

Weaknesses: Let private money into the NHS (he was health secretary under Gordon Brown); a little too similar to Miliband with his soft-left stance and New Labour background.

Read George Eaton’s interview with him here.

 

Yvette Cooper

Shadow home secretary, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 1997. Former Housing Minister, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and Work and Pensions Secretary under Gordon Brown.

A senior figure, but nevertheless lacks a following in the parliamentary Labour party. Other than Harriet Harman, Cooper is the most senior woman in the party – and there is certainly an appetite among MPs and supporters to have a woman in charge.

It is unclear what she stands for, as she keeps her cards very close to her heart. She rarely does print interviews, in contrast to how well-known her husband’s colourful hinterland is.

Strengths: She could shore up the support of the Balls faction; she is a woman; she is a senior politician; she is known for her loyalty.

Weaknesses: People don’t know enough about her and what she stands for – she has a reputation as a bit of a dull character because of this.

Read Lucy Fisher’s interview with her here.

 

Liz Kendall

Shadow minister for care and older people, MP for Leicester West since 2010, former think tanker and ex-special adviser to Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt.

An arch-Blairite, popular among the Blairite faction. Dedicated to her role in the shadow health team, and has forged a lot of links in the party. Ambitious and hardworking, and someone who has made many connections since her time as a special adviser.

I hear she can be difficult to work with – and to work for – as her ambition can make her challenging to deal with. This might make some MPs think twice about making her their leader.

Strengths: Blairites in the party like her; her campaign would be fierce; competent media performer.

Weaknesses: Can be hard work; will the party want to so overtly revert to a New Labour leader?

Read Stephen Bush’s interview with her here.

 

Mary Creagh

Shadow secretary of state for international development, MP for Wakefield since 2005, formerly served as shadow transport secretary, and shadow environment secretary prior to that.

Despite not having the favour of Ed Miliband, Mary Creagh has done well even in unglamourous briefs, putting the government under pressure over the selling off of forests and handling the horsemeat scandal impressively as shadow environment secretary. She also eased some bruised feelings at Dfid, where many stakeholders have felt neglected by Miliband and her predecessor, Jim Murphy. An outsider in the leadership contest, Creagh hadn't previously been touted as a potential successor to Miliband, unlike her rivals. A local government background, Creagh's fixation with her constituency and various briefs belies a more overarching vision.

Strengths: A grafter, competent at switching to new briefs and landing hits on the government, the only candidate to have been a councillor and set up a trade union.

Weaknesses: Not a high-profile MP, will likely struggle to get enough MPs to support her bid.

Read my interview with her here.
 

Jeremy Corbyn

MP for Islington North since 1983, member of the Socialist Campaign Group, vice-chair of the CND, chair of the Stop the War Coalition, Morning Star columnist, five-time winner of Parliamentary Beard of the Year.

Jeremy Corbyn is an ardent socialist, and one of the Labour party’s most leftwing MPs.

As Labour has come increasingly under fire from members and some MPs for failing to field a leftwing candidate, Corbyn would provide an alternative voice in the contest. The others have variously been accused of reheated Blairism or being too associated with Labour's time in government to provide a fresh answer to the party's problems.

Leaving it very late to run, weeks after his rivals, Corbyn has risked not giving himself enough time to collect 35 names. But here’s why it’s more likely he’ll make the ballot paper than you may think.

Strengths: Appeal to leftwingers and trade unions; very different from the other candidates.

Weaknesses: Seen by many as a socialist throwback; left his declaration too late.

Ruled out

Dan Jarvis - 10/5/15: Ruled himself out of the race due to his three young children

Shadow justice minister, won Barnsley Central by-election in 2011, formerly a soldier.

An unlikely bet – he doesn’t have a particularly strong following in the party. But he has a compelling back story, with his Army background. Hard to tell whether it would help or hinder him that he is so difficult to pigeonhole in the party  he's a member of Unison, Unite, the Fabian Society and the Co-operative Party, and Progress vice-chair.

Strengths: Experience of war; fluid political associations; background outside politics; neither linked to Labour's past nor really to Miliband

Weaknesses: No following in the party; fluid political associations.

Read Xan Rice’s interview with him here.

 

David Lammy - 11/5/15: Ruled himself out to run for the mayoralty

MP for Tottenham since 2000, has served as culture and BIS minister, London mayoral hopeful.

During an interview on BBC News following the general election, result, David Lammy was asked if he would run for Labour leader. "I might think about it," he replied, before adding that he was concentrating on the London mayoral race.

He says:

I've been in the Parliamentary Labour Party for fifteen years and certainly for people like me it's absolutely time to step up into a leadership role. Now, I have been thinking very, very carefully and indicating that I want to seek the Labour nomination for London mayor.

But actually, putting together that team, now that we have a proper race to lead the party, of course, me and others are looking very carefully at who is the best leader and if colleagues come to me over the coming days and say 'look, David, why don't you put your [hat in]?' I will look at it. 

While a good local MP and a vocal politician, Lammy stands little chance. Many in the party don't believe he has the skills to run London, so it is unlikely they can see him as their leader.

Strengths: Straight-talker; outside the party's inner circle; comes from a poor background.

Weaknesses: Isn't seen as having the skills required; hasn't achieved much seniority beyond a couple of ministerial positions; his heart lies in London.

Read Stephen Bush's interview with him here.

 

Chuka Umunna - 15/5/15: Ruled himself out due to heightened press intrusion he wasn't prepared for

Shadow business secretary, MP for Streatham since 2010, former city lawyer.

Another favourite for the leadership, Umunna is very much a brand. That brand is smooth, modern, even a bit sexy. He is a slick performer and impresses his colleagues as well as supporters. Yet his rise and rise has caused some to suggest that he has flown too close to the sun and his moment has passed.

Umunna is an interesting candidate politically in that he has Blairite credentials but came up through the party’s left flank, working for the leftwing think tank Compass – and was probably closer to Gordon Brown back then in his political outlook. He could use this to combine the best of Blue Labour with the best of New Labour, but some are suspicious about his politics being "all things to all men".

He has played the politics of opposition well, refusing to allow his shadow business secretary role to turn him into a business stooge. He’s also a passionate defender of immigration, which will please many on the party's left.

Strengths: A good media performer; well-known among the public; a new face to lead the Labour party – it has never had an ethnic minority leader.

Weaknesses: Too posh and smooth for a party that has attempted to shift leftwards; arrogance associated with the “British Obama” story; could get shafted by a more obvious Blairite candidate.

Read George Eaton’s interview with him here.

 

Tristram Hunt - 20/5/15: Ruled himself due to lack of MPs' support

Shadow education secretary, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central since 2010, historian and broadcaster.

“What has he actually done?” is a common refrain among Labour insiders that could scupper Hunt’s chances. Though a charming (and attractive) figure, Hunt hasn’t quite managed to own his shadow frontbench role, and he isn't seen as a conviction politician. He was notoriously parachuted into his Stoke-on-Trent seat by central office in 2010. He has a vaguely Blairite past in that he voted for David Miliband in the last leadership election, but this won't be strong enough when up against more obvious Blairite candidates.

Strengths: Telegenic  opposite of Ed Miliband in terms of appearance and manner.

Weaknesses: Is the Labour party ready for a privately-educated leader called Tristram?

Read Stephen Bush’s interview with him here.
 

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

John Moore
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The man who created the fake Tube sign explains why he did it

"We need to consider the fact that fake news isn't always fake news at the source," says John Moore.

"I wrote that at 8 o'clock on the evening and before midday the next day it had been read out in the Houses of Parliament."

John Moore, a 44-year-old doctor from Windsor, is describing the whirlwind process by which his social media response to Wednesday's Westminster attack became national news.

Moore used a Tube-sign generator on the evening after the attack to create a sign on a TfL Service Announcement board that read: "All terrorists are politely reminded that THIS IS LONDON and whatever you do to us we will drink tea and jolly well carry on thank you." Within three hours, it had just fifty shares. By the morning, it had accumulated 200. Yet by the afternoon, over 30,000 people had shared Moore's post, which was then read aloud on BBC Radio 4 and called a "wonderful tribute" by prime minister Theresa May, who at the time believed it was a genuine Underground sign. 

"I think you have to be very mindful of how powerful the internet is," says Moore, whose viral post was quickly debunked by social media users and then national newspapers such as the Guardian and the Sun. On Thursday, the online world split into two camps: those spreading the word that the sign was "fake news" and urging people not to share it, and those who said that it didn't matter that it was fake - the sentiment was what was important. 

Moore agrees with the latter camp. "I never claimed it was a real tube sign, I never claimed that at all," he says. "In my opinion the only fake news about that sign is that it has been reported as fake news. It was literally just how I was feeling at the time."

Moore was motivated to create and post the sign when he was struck by the "very British response" to the Westminster attack. "There was no sort of knee-jerk Islamaphobia, there was no dramatisation, it was all pretty much, I thought, very calm reporting," he says. "So my initial thought at the time was just a bit of pride in how London had reacted really." Though he saw other, real Tube signs online, he wanted to create his own in order to create a tribute that specifically epitomised the "very London" response. 

Yet though Moore insists he never claimed the sign was real, his caption on the image - which now has 100,800 shares - is arguably misleading. "Quintessentially British..." Moore wrote on his Facebook post, and agrees now that this was ambiguous. "It was meant to relate to the reaction that I saw in London in that day which I just thought was very calm and measured. What the sign was trying to do was capture the spirit I'd seen, so that's what I was actually talking about."

Not only did Moore not mean to mislead, he is actually shocked that anyone thought the sign was real. 

"I'm reasonably digitally savvy and I was extremely shocked that anyone thought it was real," he says, explaining that he thought everyone would be able to spot a fake after a "You ain't no muslim bruv" sign went viral after the Leytonstone Tube attack in 2015. "I thought this is an internet meme that people know isn't true and it's fine to do because this is a digital thing in a digital world."

Yet despite his intentions, Moore's sign has become the centre of debate about whether "nice" fake news is as problematic as that which was notoriously spread during the 2016 United States Presidential elections. Though Moore can understand this perspective, he ultimately feels as though the sentiment behind the sign makes it acceptable. 

"I use the word fake in inverted commas because I think fake implies the intention to deceive and there wasn't [any]... I think if the sentiment is ok then I think it is ok. I think if you were trying to be divisive and you were trying to stir up controversy or influence people's behaviour then perhaps I wouldn't have chosen that forum but I think when you're only expressing your own emotion, I think it's ok.

"The fact that it became so-called fake news was down to other people's interpretation and not down to the actual intention... So in many interesting ways you can see that fake news doesn't even have to originate from the source of the news."

Though Moore was initially "extremely shocked" at the reponse to his post, he says that on reflection he is "pretty proud". 

"I'm glad that other people, even the powers that be, found it an appropriate phrase to use," he says. "I also think social media is often denigrated as a source of evil and bad things in the world, but on occasion I think it can be used for very positive things. I think the vast majority of people who shared my post and liked my post have actually found the phrase and the sentiment useful to them, so I think we have to give social media a fair judgement at times and respect the fact it can be a source for good."

Amelia Tait is a technology and digital culture writer at the New Statesman.