Great Britain

Momentum founder Jon Lansman advising Rebecca Long Bailey on Labour leadership bid, reports suggest

Labour leadership frontrunner Rebecca Long-Bailey is being advised by the founder of the left-wing Momentum groups, Jon Lansman, reports suggested.

The controversial activist, who helped get Jeremy Corbyn elect, is tipped for a key role on the shadow business secretary's campaign and is said to already be informally advising her.

The news makes it likely that Ms Long Bailey will to secure the backing of most of the left-wing of the Labour Party, given she is also expected to receive significant support from the trade unions.

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However, it risks costing her support among more moderate party members. Mr Lansman is a controversial figure and was accused by some critics of Jeremy Corbyn of creating a "party within a party" when he established Momentum.

On election night, former Labour home secretary Alan Johnson launched a scathing attack on the Momentum founder, saying: "I want Momentum gone. Go back to your student politics and your little left wing."

Ms Long Bailey is also facing questions over claims about her childhood after she said she had grown up watching her father worry about his job on the Salford docks.

In a campaign leaflet, she said: "They say your experiences shape who you are and mine certainly have. My dad, Jimmy, worked on the Salford docks and I grew up watching him worrying when round after round of redundancies were inflicted on the docks."

However, Ms Long Bailey would have been just two when the Salford docks closed in 1982.

The shadow business secretary has also faced criticism over the involvement of far-left Momentum and Unite organiser Alex Halligan in her campaign. Mr Halligan was pictured in 2017 wearing a badge saying "Goodnight Trotskyite" and depicting a man being murdered with an ice pick - a reference to the Stalin-ordered murder of Leon Trotsky.

It came as a leaked list of Labour's target seats in the general election revealed that the party had focused resources on Conservative-held seats that were subsequently won by the Tories with an even bigger majority, while Labour lost 59 of its seats.

The document, reportedly leaked by a trade union, shows that Mr Corbyn's team spent valuable resources on seats they were never likely to win.

It is likely to add to pressure on the Labour leader's director of strategy, Seumas Milne, and his campaigns chief, Karie Murphy, to resign.