Labour leader contest ‘closed’ but replacement will be a Starmer clone says Fabian society

Labour: Speculation over new leader will 'die down' says expert

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General Secretary of the left-leaning think tank, the Fabian Society, Andrew Harrop told Express.co.uk he saw no prospective Labour leader from the Jeremy Corbyn left of the party. He added the furore over Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, following Labour by-election defeats, has “died down” but admitted future challenges to his leadership were inevitable. Mr Harrop then shared who he could see replace Sir Keir and explained it would be very likely to see a new Labour leader being politically identical to Sir Keir. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk. Mr Harrop was asked what he thought the future of the Labour Party could be following from the narrow Batley and Spen by-election victory. 

He was asked who he could see replace Sir Keir in the future after critics demanded he step down if he lost the Batley vote. 

Mr Harrop explained: “The Batley and Spen by-election has really closed the conversation on any immediate leadership challenge to Keir.

“He will rebuild a united team after this election and I think the speculation will die down.

“There are lots of really talented people in the Labour Party who might one day want to run in a hypothetical leadership contest but I think that will be after the next general election.”

However, Mr Harrop did not believe those aligned with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would be effective as leader of the party. 

Allies of Mr Corbyn would include people like John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey who served in his shadow cabinet.

He continued: “And I would say that thinking about challenges from the left, it’s really notable there aren’t any obvious strong candidates from the Corbyn left of the party.

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“Just in terms of who are the most prominent people in the Labour Party who you can imagine standing on the steps of Downing Street – it’s likely to be someone who’s quite like Keir Starmer in terms of their politics.

“And that would include people like Angela Rayner, Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and they’re all traditional mainstream Labour figures.

“The only reason to think about a leadership contest would be following a Labour defeat, it’s completely counterproductive to speculate on changing leadership midway through the parliament.”

A YouGov poll published shortly after the Batley and Spen by-election showed 69 percent of Labour voters would like to see Andy Burnham as Labour leader. 

Mr Burnham is currently Mayor of Manchester but served in Mr Corbyn’s shadow cabinet as Shadow Home Secretary back in 2015. 

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Sir Keir faced swathes of attacks on his leadership in the leadup to the Batley by-election as polls suggested Labour would lose the seat. 

It followed a disastrous Hartlepool by-election for Labour who lost the stronghold to the Conservatives. 

However, Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater won the Batley election with a narrow majority of 323 in a bitterly fought election. 

Ms Leadbeater, who is the sister of murdered MP Jo Cox who led the constituency, was harassed and chased on the streets by critics as she canvassed and campaigned. 

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