Ipswich Labour members back Sir Keir Starmer for party leadership
PUBLISHED: 14:22 18 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:11 18 January 2020
Ipswich Labour Party has given its backing to shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer in the race to become the new party leader - and leader of the opposition.
Sir Keir got an "overwhelming" level of support from party members at a special meeting last night.
Party education spokeswoman Angela Rayner won Ipswich's backing for the deputy post - although the result of this contest was closer.
A total of 97 people voted at the meeting - and the support is important because to get on the ballot paper each candidate needs the support of at least 5% of constituency parties and affiliated organisations like trade unions.
Sir Keir is believed to be the first candidate to get through that threshold. Five candidates got the backing of at least 10% of the parliamentary party to get on the initial ballot paper.
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Suffolk County Councillor Jack Abbott, who represents the Bridge Division at Endeavour House and stood in the 2015 General Election, said: "The result was pretty overwhelming. Keir won clearly on first preferences. The deputy vote was closer - I think it went to second preferences - but it is a strong ticket.
"The feeling at the meeting was that we had to have a leader who could attract support in seats in this area that we have to win - like Ipswich - and Keir is seen as the best person to do that."
Sir Keir is the early favourite and attracted the most support from MPs and other organisations. His closest rival is seen as shadow trade secretary Rebecca Long Bailey who has the support of many on the left of the party who were the keenest fans of Jeremy Corbyn. She is backed by the Momentum movement.
Also on the ballot are Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry. All the leadership and deputy leadership candidates were at the first hustings for party members in Liverpool on today,
No formal hustings is planned for the East of England, but all the candidates are expected to be invited to the region's annual conference at the end of next month although details of that have not yet been confirmed.
Members and registered supporters of the Labour Party have until the end of March to vote for a new leader on a one member, one vote basis. The winner will be unveiled at a special conference on April 4.