January 08, 2020
Barry Gardiner is preparing to run for Labour leader in a shock last-minute entry to the race, HuffPost UK can reveal.
Barry Gardiner Preparing To Run For Labour Leader In Shock Late Entry
The shadow international trade secretary, an ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is seeking support from MPs in a bid to get on the ballot. 
It comes as left-wingers and Corbyn loyalists fear the campaign of Rebecca Long Bailey, their favoured candidate, has been floundering while shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer races ahead.
Unite boss Len McCluskey is believed to have approached Gardiner and a number of other shadow frontbench figures asking them to stand. 
HuffPost UK understands Gardiner, the MP for Brent North since 1997, will centre his pitch on loyalty and has begun searching for a campaign team.
A source close to Gardiner told HuffPost UK: “Barry recognises the challenges the party faces over the next five years and believes he has the broad base of support, experience and loyalty to the party to win the race and take the fight to the Tories.”I wish journalists including @pollytoynbee would stop claiming that I or Unite have backed anyone for Labour leader so far. To be clear, we haven’t. The decision will only be made when our executive committee meets on 24 Jan, to which candidates will be invited to make their case— Len McCluskey (@LenMcCluskey) January 7, 2020The shadow minister has served in frontbench posts in both the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown administrations.
Starner has a commanding lead, according to a YouGov released last week, and has cleared the 22-MP hurdle to get on the ballot.
Gardiner could struggle to win enough nominations, however, with candidates including Clive Lewis and Emily Thornberry fighting to stay in the contest.
There are 202 Labour MPs and nominations close in five days. 
Rebecca Long Bailey is in second place with the support of seven MPs. Jess Phillips has the support of six MPs.
Lisa Nandy, who impressed backbenchers with her pitch at the first leadership hustings in front of MPs on Tuesday night, has the backing of two MPs.
Thornberry has received the backing of one MP. Clive Lewis has not received the vote of any MPs so far.
Under party rules, once the required 22 MPs have been secured, leadership contenders then need to win 5% of local party nominations or 5% of party affiliates such as trade unions or socialist societies.
The contest will end on April 2, with the winner announced two days later.Related... Angela Rayner To Run For Deputy Labour Leader Job Jeremy Corbyn Says He'll Wait On Brussels To Make Election Decision As Labour MPs Divided Will Labour's 'Red Wall' Fall Because Of Brexit Or Corbyn? Or Both?
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