January 08, 2020
Angela Rayner looks set to be the first deputy Labour leader contender to make the ballot as a clutch of MPs got behind her campaign. 
Angela Rayner Surges Ahead In Deputy Leader Race – But The Frontrunner Has Competition
The shadow education secretary shot ahead in the first round of MP nominations, bagging the support of 16 other MPs – including herself, just five short of the 22 needed to make the ballot.
But the favourite faces competition after the first hustings on Wednesday saw two of the shadow education secretary’s rivals impress MPs.
Ian Murray, the party’s only remaining Scottish MP, made a passionate case for reviving Labour’s fortunes north of the border, a pitch that won over six backers and put him in second place.
Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow sports minister and qualified doctor, was also said to have been “refreshing”, with a number of moderate MPs prepared to give her support.
Corbyn allies Richard Burgon and Dawn Butler, who are also vying to replace Tom Watson, were less popular with MPs, according to those in the Westminster committee room, but may prove a hit with the party’s left-wing membership if they make it onto the ballot paper. 
Rayner‘s opening pitch included telling MPs “my story is your story – one of the labour moment and one of Labour in government” as she sought to bring onside her parliamentary colleagues.Labour deputy leader nominations:Rosena Allin Khan: 2Richard Burgon: 5Dawn Butler: 3Ian Murray: 6Angela Rayner: 16— Rachel Wearmouth (@REWearmouth) January 8, 2020Barnsley MP Steph Peacock and Ilford South’s Sam Tarry were among those who left the debate backing Rayner. 
Peacock said: “I thought Angie did very well. I’ll be nominating her. She’s got an incredibly strong back story and she really connects with people.” 
She added: “I think they all put in a good show and all had different things to offer. Ian Murray, for example, is in a unique position, being the only remaining Scottish MP.” 
Murray, who a number of MPs said was “superb”, has survived three election surges from the SNP in Scotland to hang on to his Edinburgh South seat.
He got laughs by jokingly referring to himself as “the cockroach after the nuclear holocaust”.
“I’m standing for deputy leader because of my track record in beating the odds,” he said, highlighting – like Rayner – his working class roots. 
“I decided to put my name forward because I have what it takes to help Labour win again across the UK. Yes, Scotland’s voice needs to be heard at the top of the party, but we must also send a message to every nation and region of the UK, where too many voters don’t think they are being heard. Every part of our UK matters.” 
Murray also sought to win over doubters who fear that Labour could end up with men for both deputy leader and leader, as shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer was surging ahead for the top job.
The Scottish MP promised he would push for a second female deputy in such circumstances.
The tone of the debate was “extremely positive” overall, MPs said. Candidates were asked about the contact rate in their constituencies, which reveals the number of voters who have been canvassed.
MPs said that Butler, who is the shadow equalities minister, had to text her office to ask while Burgon avoided answering. 
The shadow justice secretary, a staunch ally of the outgoing leader, said he would be a “campaigning deputy leader”, that he saw the party as a “a coalition of socialists, social democrats and trade unions” and that “unity is strength”.
Burgon has backing from the new 2019 intake of MPs, including Ian Byrne and Zarah Sultana. 
Butler, meanwhile, stressed she was loyal to the party and would rebuild trust. 
Both MPs won over a handful of their colleagues. 
Allin-Khan got backing from Anna McMorrin; new MP for Putney, Fleur Anderson; and the chair of the women’s parliamentary Labour party, Rosie Duffield.
She said she was “grieving” after the December 12 general election, which saw the Conservatives record an 80-seat majority. 
“With your help, I am determined to snatch the keys off Boris Johnson,” she said. 
In the first round of MP nominations, however, just two officially backed her. 
After a three-month campaign, which is likely to include a series of hustings with members, the winner of the deputy leader contest will be announced in April. Related... Jeremy Corbyn Was '10 Out Of 10' As Labour Leader, Says Rebecca Long Bailey Rosena Allin-Khan Launches Labour Deputy Leadership Bid Rebecca Long Bailey Officially Launches Labour Leadership Bid
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