Chuka Umunna has thrown the Labour party into shock by announcing that he will stand aside from the leadership race. Umunna, though the bookmakers favourite, faced heavyweight opposition in the shape of Yvette Cooper, heavily backed by the parliamentary Labour party, and Andy Burnham, the favoured candidate of the unions. Both camps will be be pleased, however, that Umunna, the highest-profile member of the 2010 intake, is no longer a factor.
Frankly, Burnham, who ran last time, and has consistently topped LabourList’s Shadow Cabinet rankings, was the candidate to beat this morning and that is still the case now. I’m told that there are efforts underway to persuade Dan Jarvis, considered by many to be Labour’s best hope of overcoming the odds and winning in 2020, to re-enter the race. It makes it easier for Tristram Hunt, another candidate from that wing of the party, to get 35 MPs. But if there is any real benefit to anyone in the race it will be Liz Kendall, many of the modernisers’ second-choice candidate, and the only declared candidate who is from the 2010 intake, which one MP described to me as “essential” if the party is to recover from its shock defeat.