The favourite in the Labour leadership contest Keir Starmer has won the backing of another union. Community has joined Unison and USDAW in nominating the former director of public prosecutions for leader.
The announcement is hardly a shifting of the tectonic plates in the contest. Starmer has already made it to the final ballot by marrying his initial two union endorsements with the backing of affiliate group SERA. Lisa Nandy has joined him with nominations from the NUM, GMB and Chinese for Labour. Rebecca Long-Bailey is also expected to make it through shortly, although Emily Thornberry lags far behind the front three. Unable to pursue the affiliates route, she will have to win the backing of 33 Constituency Labour Parties (CLP) instead to make it to the next round, but remains stuck on three. By comparison Starmer has been nominated by 44.
The announcement contributes to the sense that this contest is Starmer’s to lose. Every indicator thus far — membership polling, union backing, CLP endorsements, PLP endorsements — have put him way ahead of his rivals.
Meanwhile, the deputy leadership race is all but signed, sealed and delivered. Angela Rayner, who finds herself in an even more imperious position than Starmer, also won the backing of Community today. This is her fourth union nomination after she won the support of USDAW, Unison and the NUM. Meanwhile there is potential for Ian Murray to make it to the final ballot by picking up endorsements from CLPs in Scotland. He still has a long way to go given that he has been nominated by only six so far. But as well as endorsing Rayner, today Community also called for CLPs to endorse the sole Labour Scottish MP, giving Murray a much needed boost.
Starmer and Rayner are pulling ever further away from the chasing pack.