Labour MPs have just a few hours left to make up their minds before nominations for the leadership close at 12.30pm. Andy Burnham is now just two short of the required 33 nominations and is certain to make it on to the ballot paper. (You’ll be able to see him at our Labour leadership debate tonight.) In fact, since David Miliband has promised to lend his vote to any candidate who needs it, Burnham is just one short.
But so far, Ed Balls is the only nominee to take the bolder step of urging his supporters to back an alternative candidate in order to ensure a politically diverse field.
As things stand, it doesn’t look like either John McDonnell or Diane Abbott will stand aside to give the left a fighting chance of making the ballot. A lot of McDonnell supporters were unhappy with my call for the Labour left-winger to step down and endorse Abbott.
But, even though McDonnell now has 16 nominations to Abbott’s 11, it is Abbott who would have the best chance of proceeding.
Most of Abbott’s centrist supporters, such as Harriet Harman, David Lammy, Fiona Mactaggart and Keith Vaz, would not transfer to McDonnell. I’m also confident that many Labour MPs who would never consider nominating McDonnell, would vote for Abbott if she had a genuine chance of making the ballot.
I’d expect a fair number of Labour women to follow Harman and nominate Abbott (McDonnell is unlikely to win any more votes), but it will take something special for her to win the 22 nominations she needs.
There are 36 MPs yet to nominate a candidate. Here is a list of them:
Rushanara Ali (Bethnal Green and Bow)
Graham Allen (Nottingham North)
Adrian Bailey (West Bromwich West)
Margaret Beckett (Derby South)
Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath)
Nick Brown (Newcastle-upon-Tyne East)
Chris Bryant (Rhondda)
Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield)
Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill)
Stella Creasy (Walthamstow)
Tony Cunningham (Workington)
Nick Dakin (Scunthorpe)
Angela Eagle (Wallasey)
Sheila Gilmore (Edinburgh East)
Roger Godsiff (Birmingham Hall Green)
David Heyes (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch)
Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central)
Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore)
Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Kilburn)
Sian James (Swansea East)
Cathy Jamieson (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
Graham Jones (Hyndburn)
Tony Lloyd (Manchester Central)
Denis MacShane (Rotherham)
Shabana Mahmood (Birmingham Ladywood)
Gregg McClymont (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East)
Ian Mearns (Gateshead)
George Mudie (Leeds East)
Dawn Primarolo (Bristol South)
Jack Straw (Blackburn)
Graham Stringer (Blackley and Broughton)
Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston)
Stephen Twigg (Liverpool West Derby)
David Winnick (Walsall North)
Phil Woolas (Oldham East and Saddleworth)
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