Labour leadership: MPs begin to make their pitches

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UK Parliament

Labour MPs have begun making their pitches to become the party’s next leader, as Sir Keir Starmer became the fifth contender to enter the race.

The shadow Brexit secretary told the Sunday Mirror he is standing to replace Jeremy Corbyn to “restore trust in our party as a force for good”.

Rival Jess Phillips told the BBC that voters had to “feel a connection” with the party and its basic values.

Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy and Clive Lewis have also entered the race.

Shadow business secretary, and probable frontrunner, Rebecca Long-Bailey has yet to officially declare her candidacy, though she is expected to do so.

The contest was called after Mr Corbyn announced he would stand down as leader after Labour’s heavy election defeat.

Sir Keir championed his background as a defence barrister representing striking miners and print workers, and his later role as Director of Public Prosecutions in a video launching his leadership bid on Twitter.

The Holborn and St Pancras MP told the Sunday Mirror: “We need a Labour government that will offer people hope of a better future.

“But that is going to happen only if Labour listens to people about what needs to change and how we can restore trust in our party as a force for good.”

He will launch his Labour leadership bid later in Stevenage, a Labour-held seat between 1997 and 2010.

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Media captionJess Phillips: Labour members are “ready to try something different”.

Ms Phillips told the BBC that her party must stop “harking back to the past” and obsessing with factionalism and internal positioning.

She told Andrew Marr there was no single reason for Labour’s election defeat but the manifesto as a whole lacked credibility and some of the party’s proposals, such as delivering free broadband, were “just not believable”.

“The fundamental thing is that the country did not trust us to govern,” she said. “We lost them on some of the basics.”

The Birmingham Yardley MP, who announced her entry into the race on Friday, said she could win support from all parts of the Labour movement by being honest about where the party stood and reasserting core Labour values.

“People have to feel a connection with us again. People have to feel we are on their side.”

In a break with Mr Corbyn, she said she would also support the deployment of British force abroad if there was a “moral case” for it.

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Reuters

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Rebecca Long-Bailey is expected to join the race

A timetable for the leadership election – and any rule changes – is set to be decided by the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) on Monday.

Under current rules, would-be candidates for both the leader and deputy leader roles must first be nominated by more than 20 MPs.

They must also secure nominations from at least 5% of Labour’s constituency parties or three affiliated bodies – two of which must be trade unions.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry became the first MP to officially enter the race, saying she believes she can win because she comes “from the heart” of Labour.

She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge that if Labour “can’t win elections then we are failing this party”.

Shadow treasury minister Clive Lewis said he was standing because he fears “necessary truths may go unspoken”.

And on Friday, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy announced she was also standing, saying she wanted to “bring Labour home” by focussing on its traditional heartlands where many voters have abandoned the party.