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6 November 2019

Conor McGinn planning to run for Labour deputy leadership

The St Helens North MP and former whip is the first contender to express an interest in succeeding Tom Watson. 

By Patrick Maguire

Conor McGinn, the Labour MP for St Helens North, intends to run for the deputy leadership of the party, the New Statesman has learned. A source close to McGinn, a former opposition whip, confirmed to the NS that he planned to run to succeed Tom Watson, who announced his resignation tonight. 

First elected in 2015, McGinn — a Corbynsceptic Remainer aligned with Labour’s old right — quit the frontbench over the sacking of Rosie Winterton as chief whip in October 2016. In the same year he was involved in a public dispute with Jeremy Corbyn after alleging that the Labour leader “said that he intended to ring” McGinn’s father, a former Sinn Fein councillor, to express his discontent over an interview given by his son. 

The Armagh-born MP, 35, has since carved out a niche as a campaigning backbencher, successfully amending Northern Ireland devolution legislation to legalise gay marriage in his home country in July. 

Under new rules agreed by the Labour conference in 2018, candidates for the leadership and deputy leadership require the support of 10 per cent of MPs and either five per cent of constituency parties or trade unions and other affiliated organisations to make the ballot.

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