Chuka Umunna confirms Labour leadership bid

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna who  "intends to put himself forward and stand for the leadership of the Labour Party", he has announced.
Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna who "intends to put himself forward and stand for the leadership of the Labour Party", he has announced.
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Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna “intends to put himself forward and stand for the leadership of the Labour Party”, he has announced.

He said he believed Labour could win power in five years’ time, adding: “I want to lead that effort as part of a really big Labour team, getting Labour back into office.”

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna visiting a Dewsbury factory.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna visiting a Dewsbury factory.

Mr Umunna was speaking ahead of a meeting tomorrow of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) to draw up a timetable for the contest to succeed Ed Miliband.

The shadow business secretary is the second candidate to formally throw his hat in the ring after shadow health minister Liz Kendall did so at the weekend.

He said he had held back from making his announcement while he spoke to defeated candidates from the party’s disastrous general election performance.

Speaking this morning his fellow candidate Ms Kendall has said it’s “maybe time” that the party had a female leader.

The shadow health minister is so far the only contender to have thrown her hat into the leadership election ring, following Ed Miliband’s defeat in last week’s general election and subsequent resignation.

Ms Kendall argued the party needed to “blast out of these old debates about Blairite, Brownite, Old Labour, New Labour and create something new rooted in people’s values and concerns”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: “People might think I’m a bit biased in this, but I think it’s maybe time that Labour had a woman leader. People like Margaret Beckett and Harriet Harman have been the acting leaders of their party, they have blazed a trail and I’d be beyond proud if I was elected as Labour’s leader.”

Asked if the dynamic would be better for Labour if they had a female leader up against Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons, she said: “I don’t know, I think, hopefully people will judge me on the strength of my arguments. There’s a long way to go.”

The MP for Leicester West said she did not “have all of the answers” to what happened to Labour, adding it would be “arrogant to suggest” she did.

She said: “We have got to have a long process of talking to people and listening to them to get us back on the right track.”

Ms Kendall vowed that Labour “can win again if we think of the profound changes we need to make as a party and we build something new”.