Some railwaymen are on the pitch! They think it’s all over! It is now! Keir Starmer has secured his fifth trade union endorsement of the Labour leadership race from the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association. Unlike most other affiliates, the Corbynite rail union chose to ballot its members on which candidates to nominate for the leadership and deputy leadership. Starmer beat Rebecca Long-Bailey, with Angela Rayner winning over Rosena Allin-Khan.
For Starmer and Long-Bailey, it is a result of huge symbolism: the TSSA was the first trade union to endorse Jeremy Corbyn, whose first leadership campaign, as well as the infant Momentum, were run from the union’s then-headquarters in Euston. In practical terms, however, it is neither surprising nor all that significant. The TSSA, as well as being pro-Corbyn, is unashamedly pro-Remain. Not only do its leadership’s views align with Starmer’s on Brexit, he was one of only two candidates – the other was Long-Bailey – to address the union’s executive in advance of its shortlisting meeting last month.
With ballots due to start landing on doormats and in inboxes next week, the result confirms what is already clear: that Starmer is, barring an unforeseen disaster, on course for a convincing victory. As one senior shadow cabinet minister backing Long-Bailey admitted this morning: “It’s not looking good.”