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21 January 2020

The GMB’s endorsement concludes a brilliant day for Lisa Nandy

The Wigan MP is inches from the final Labour leadership ballot and now has a distinctive space in the campaign.

By Stephen Bush

Lisa Nandy has taken a dramatic step closer to the final Labour leadership ballot after winning the support of the GMB. The GMB’s size (it is the UK’s third-largest trade union) and the fact that Nandy has already achieved the backing of the National Union of Mineworkers, means that the support of any other trade union or affiliated socialist society, however large or small, will put her on the ballot.

The final step is not without difficulties, however. Most of the socialist societies are tightly controlled by either the party’s left or right. Those on the left will likely back Rebecca Long-Bailey, while those on the right are highly likely to fall in behind Keir Starmer, the frontrunner. However, Nandy only needs one, so while it isn’t impossible that she will fall short, it isn’t all that likely either.

The GMB’s nomination caps off a great day for the Wigan MP. Jess Phillips’s exit from the contest means that she is now in third place and, equally importantly, means that she is the only candidate running on an explicit “change or die” message. Phillips’s large media profile was also a big threat to Nandy’s hope of introducing herself to members, a majority of whom know little about her. It also means, to be frank, that in a campaign that threatens to become a rather dull procession for Starmer, there is only one candidate who people are going to talk about in any detail beyond their chances of winning. That doesn’t, in itself, mean Nandy can break out from her distant third place – but it does give her a pretty good shot at doing so.

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