Inevitable? Photo: Getty Images
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Andy Burnham picks up 16 more nominations

Andy Burnham has secured a half-century of nominations, including his first from outside Wales and the North of England.

Andy Burnham has picked up the support of 16 more MPs, bringing his total to 50 overall. His nearest rival in terms of parliamentary support, Yvette Cooper, has 31 MPs. Liz Kendall has 21 MPs. Mary Creagh, who, increasingly, looks unlikely to make the ballot, has 6 MPs.

In a boost for the Burnham campaign, he has secured his first backers from outside Wales and the North. Kerry McCarthy, the MP for Bristol East, and Alan Whitehead, from Southampton Test, have publicly endorsed Burnham. He has also secured endorsements from two London MPs, Kate Hoey and Teresa Pearce. 

The full 16 are:


Alan Whitehead  

Bill Esterson
 Clive Betts
 Chris Matheson
 Derek Twigg
 Kerry McCarthy
 Liz McInnes
 Mary Glindon
 Teresa Pearce
 Wayne David
 Albert Owen
 Iain Wright
 Nia Griffith
  Kate Hoey
  Ian Mearns
 Paul Farrelly

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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Douglas Carswell leaves Ukip to become independent MP

The Clacton MP quits his party but insists he will not rejoin the Conservatives or trigger a by-election. 

Douglas Carswell has long been a Ukip MP in name only. Now he isn't even that. Ukip's sole MP, who defected from the Conservatives in 2014, has announced that he is leaving the party.

Carswell's announcement comes as no great surprise. He has long endured a comically antagonistic relationship with Nigel Farage, who last month demanded his expulsion for the sin of failing to aid his knighthood bid. The Clacton MP's ambition to transform Ukip into a libertarian force, rather than a reactionary one, predictably failed. With the party now often polling in single figures, below the Liberal Democrats, the MP has left a sinking ship (taking £217,000 of opposition funding or "short money" with him). As Carswell acknowledges in his statement, Brexit has deprieved Ukip of its raison d'être.

He writes: "Ukip might not have managed to win many seats in Parliament, but in a way we are the most successful political party in Britain ever. We have achieved what we were established to do – and in doing so we have changed the course of our country's history for the better. Make no mistake; we would not be leaving the EU if it was not for Ukip – and for those remarkable people who founded, supported and sustained our party over that period.

"Our party has prevailed thanks to the heroic efforts of Ukip party members and supporters. You ensured we got a referendum. With your street stalls and leafleting, you helped Vote Leave win the referendum. You should all be given medals for what you helped make happen – and face the future with optimism.

"Like many of you, I switched to Ukip because I desperately wanted us to leave the EU. Now we can be certain that that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving Ukip."

Though Ukip could yet recover if Theresa May disappoints anti-immigration voters, that's not a path that the pro-migration Carswell would wish to pursue. He insists that he has no intention of returning to the Conservatives (and will not trigger a new by-election). "I will simply be the Member of Parliament for Clacton, sitting as an independent."

Carswell's erstwhile Conservative colleagues will no doubt delight in reminding him that he was warned.  

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.