Questions over Keir Starmer’s leadership will die down over the next few weeks, but the local elections have hurt his authority.
It’s also never too early to speculate on who could head up the Labour party next, and several candidates have already announced themselves, explicitly or otherwise. As such, Marchamont has drawn up a shortlist:
Angela Rayner: The deputy leader may have lost her role as party chair after the elections, but she emerged relatively unscathed. She would make a change for Labour by being northern, female and working class.
Andy Burnham: The Thunderbird pointedly criticised Starmer after the elections for his treatment of Rayner, and notched up a comfortable victory for a second term as Greater Manchester’s mayor.
Burnham even said that he would be available for leadership should his party want to get in touch, and has bagged a column in the Evening Standard. These are hardly signs he plans to remain just the king of the north.
Sadiq Khan: The London mayor had a closer election than many expected in gaining his second term.
Despite saying he’d like to stay in city hall until 2040, he is among the most prominent national politicians. The present prime minister also did a stint in Khan’s role before moving on to better things.
Lisa Nandy: Soft left favourite Nandy has looked a tad out of place as shadow foreign secretary, happier talking about towns than tanks. Could she be the unity candidate that Starmer isn’t proving to be?
Rebecca Long-Bailey: Sacked by Starmer for tweeting approval of an Independent interview with a lefty actress who said something dubious about the Israeli military, Long-Bailey has every motive for revenge. Also, she stood last time.
David Miliband: Leading the natural party of opposition may be a step down from running an international refugee charity, but he’s never exactly dismissed the idea. The other brother may prove the king across the water.
Tony Blair: Every few months a story circulates that Labour’s only election-winning leader this century is plotting a comeback, like some aged French politician without the mistresses. Could the next leadership contest be his time?
Jeremy Corbyn: Jez didn’t want to become leader the first time, but that proved no barrier. He would have to get the whip back though.
Further suggestions in the comments…