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16 May 2015

Caroline Flint launches bid for Labour’s deputy leadership

By Stephen Bush

Caroline Flint has launched her bid to replace Harriet Harman as deputy leader with a video.

Flint’s pitch will inevitably be compared with that of the frontrunner, Tom Watson, who has made changing the party’s organisation the main focus of his campaign. Flint argues that the party would not have won without a better ground game, and talks about the wider responsibilities of the deputy leader – standing in during Prime Ministers’ Questions, defending the leader and the party on television, “whoever they may be”. She highlights, as Watson did in his announcement, her thirty years in the Labour movement.

It’s an attempt to focus on her strengths. Flint, who despite voting for David Miliband put in more appearances on Question Time in the era of Ed Miliband than any other politician , is regarded as a near-flawless media performer and one who has already put internal politics aside in the service of one leader. Flint, who has served in a variety of positions in the Labour frontbench since 2005, and as Shadow Secretary of State for Commmunites and Local Government and at the Department of Energy and Climate Change in opposition, starts as the underdog but will hope that her widely-recognised qualities will be the platform to a serious challenge to Watson.

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