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29 January 2020updated 29 Jun 2021 3:53pm

Fire Brigades Union puts Rebecca Long-Bailey on Labour leadership ballot

But the Corbynite affiliate's nomination of Richard Burgon comes with a sting in the tail for the left.

By Patrick Maguire

And then there were three: Rebecca Long-Bailey has joined Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy on the Labour leadership ballot after securing the endorsement of the Fire Brigades Union in one of the more predictable affiliate endorsements of the race thus far. 

As one of the most reliably Corbynite unions which is affiliated to Labour – a move it only took after the incumbent’s election in 2015 – it is no surprise that the FBU has endorsed Long-Bailey, who as shadow business secretary has championed the Green New Deal policy that the union moved at this year’s Labour conference. Indeed, the executive’s decision was unanimous, bar a couple of abstentions. 

As with Unite and the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, the overwhelmingly left-wing complexion of the union’s internal structures meant that, realistically, it would only ever realistically back one candidate for leader. 

Much more interesting is the FBU’s nomination for deputy, which went to Richard Burgon – who, despite Long-Bailey’s protestations to the contrary, is very much seen as the other half of the unofficial ticket of the Corbynite left, rather than Angela Rayner. The vote, however, was “very, very tight”, with Rayner only just missing out after a concerted lobbying effort from Burgon in recent days.

So while the shadow justice secretary is on the ballot courtesy of the same three unions as Long-Bailey, that he did not win the nomination of arguably the most militant in a convincing fashion attests to the uphill struggle he now faces among members.

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