Rebecca Long-Bailey’s bid to become the next Labour leader received a major boost after she won the endorsement of a major trade union today.
Unite announced it was backing the shadow business secretary on Friday, with general secretary Len McCluskey claiming she had the ‘brains and brilliance’ to beat out Boris Johnson in the next General election.
Having received the support of the British and Irish trade union, Ms Long-Bailey now just needs the backing of one more Labour affiliate to secure a place on the ballot paper.
She was endorsed by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union last week.
Unite also revealed it was backing Richard Burgon for deputy leader.
Speaking of Ms Long-Bailey, Mr McCluskey said: ‘She is standing for unity, socialism and the determination to make Johnson’s term in office short-lived.
‘Unite is also confident that Richard will make a superb deputy to Becky, displaying the qualities that have long been absent from that post – pride in our values, a passion for our party to succeed and, above all, loyalty to their leader.’
Ms Long-Bailey said she was ‘honoured’ to receive the nomination, adding that trade unions would be ‘at the heart’ of Labour’s ‘path back to power’.
She looks likely to become the third Labour hopeful to make it on the ballot paper, following shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.
Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry also hopes to make it to the next stage.
Candidates are required to win the nominations of three Labour affiliates, including at least two unions, which amounts to at least 5% of affiliate members.
The only other route on to the ballot is by receiving nominations from at least 5% of constituency Labour parties (CLPs).
The Labour leadership hustings in Leeds was cancelled on Saturday after Sir Keir’s mother-in-law became critically ill in hospital following a serious accident.
After the candidate announced he was suspending campaigning, general secretary Jennie Formby said Saturday’s hustings would not go ahead to ensure fairness.
The deputy leadership hustings will take place as planned.