Yorkshire MP makes final five in fight to be Labour’s deputy leader

Caroline Flint will be one of five candidates to be deputy leader of the Labour Party
Caroline Flint will be one of five candidates to be deputy leader of the Labour Party
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DON Valley MP Caroline Flint will be one of five candidates for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party.

Ms Flint secured 43 nominations, the second highest total behind former deputy chairman Tom Watson who was backed by 62 colleagues.

Yorkshire MPs Hilary Benn, Barry Sheerman and Karl Turner were among those backing Ms Flint’s bid.

Ms Flint said: “I’m in this to win it. I’m delighted to have such a fantastic vote of confidence from Labour MPs for my deputy leadership campaign. Thousands of Labour Party members and supporters have signed up to volunteer on my campaign too.

“The deputy leader has to support the next leader - whoever they are - to rebuild and win again. I know our party from the grassroots up and I’ve campaigned in hundreds of constituencies since 2010 as a shadow cabinet member.

“But we also need a deputy leader unafraid to go on the Today programme or Question Time, especially on difficult days.

“Somebody ready to deputise for the leader in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions.

“Most of all, we need somebody who both members and voters can connect with - those many voters we need to win back.”

Ms Flint and Mr Watson will now fight it out with Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy and Angela Eagle after they too won the necessary backing of at least 35 MPs before the noon deadline.

Mr Watson and Ms Flint, the Shadow Energy Secretary, were on track to be the only candidates until a late decision by Rushanara Ali to pull out saw her supporters switch their backing to help the three other MPs get on to the ballot.

Mr Bradshaw praised Ms Ali for “her incredibly selfless decision” to withdraw from the race to allow a “broad field” of candidates to go forward.

The former Culture Secretary added: “Delighted to be on ballot for deputy and looking forward to meeting members across country.”

Mr Watson was the front-runner in the contest to succeed Harriet Harman with the backing of at least 59 MPs, including former chief secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne and shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker.

It comes after the Parliamentary Labour Party earlier this week backed four candidates to go forward in the campaign to replace Ed Miliband as leader.

Veteran left-winger Jeremy Corbyn became the surprise addition on the ballot paper after a last-minute surge of MPs agreed to put their name to his candidacy.

Although many made it clear they ultimately will not vote for him, the MPs said they wanted to ensure there was a broad debate about the party’s future direction.

He joins shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and shadow health minister Liz Kendall in the contest, which will involve a series of public and televised hustings over the coming weeks.

The eventual winner - selected by a one member, one vote system which replaced an electoral college that gave extra weight to politician and trade union choices - will be announced at a special Labour conference on September 12.