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Women will lead the charge to replace Jeremy Corbyn if the party defeated in the general election

Sir Keir Starmer (pictured) would also be the only plausible male candidate in the race

Women will lead the charge to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader if the party crashes to defeat on Thursday, writes Brendan Carlin.

Rivals have been accused of jostling for position, with allies of beleaguered Mr Corbyn claiming last night that all the main contenders had leadership campaigns 'ready to go'. 

They mocked a new Election campaign video on Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer's Instagram site as 'a thinly veiled biopic' to boost his tilt at the top job.

Party insiders say Sir Keir, a leading party moderate, would also be the only plausible male candidate in the race.

The arch-Remainer and North London MP is expected to be outnumbered five to one by female contenders in a party that has never elected a female leader but is facing mounting pressure to change that.

Sources say the early favourite would be high-profile schools spokesman Angela Rayner, who earlier this year joked about her weight loss, saying: 'Fat birds don't win elections.'

Rebecca Long-Bailey (left) and Jess Phillips (right)

Sources say the early favourite would be high-profile schools spokesman Angela Rayner who appeals to Labour moderates

Mrs Rayner, who has been careful to court moderates, will also be backed by colleagues who now insist that Labour must have a leader from the North. 

But in what will be a bitter Left versus Right battle for the party's soul, Corbynistas are expected to be torn between Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and Left-wing firebrand Laura Pidcock, who faces a fight to hold her North West Durham seat.

Laura Pidcock (left) and Emily Thornberry (right)

Emily Thornberry, the party's pro-Remain foreign affairs spokesman, is also expected to launch a leadership bid, with sources suggesting she will have the backing of a leading Labour peer. 

Corbyn critic Jess Phillips, who once warned she would knife her leader 'in the front' if she felt he was damaging the party's Election prospects, previously said she would consider standing if Mr Corbyn stepped aside.

Many Labour figures say Mr Corbyn's position will be untenable if he leads the party to another Election defeat – but Corbyn ally and Unite union boss Len McCluskey has said he should stay on for a 'period of reflection'. 

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