Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the 2015 Labour leadership contest was undoubtedly a shock for everyone. For a democratic socialist to win in a field which had 4 blairites who were 20 years younger, is very impressive. However, the opinion polls are showing that Labour are still behind and their incompetency to overtake a failing Conservative government is embarrassing. Although Corbyn is still very popular with the Labour membership, it does not look like Corbyn will continue to fight if Labour loses in the 2022 General Election. Therefore, discussions are soon going to arise about who could possibly replace him. Using OddsChecker, we reveal the top 5 favourites with the bookies’ and the results are remarkable.
Emily Thornberry 6/1
Currently serving as the shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry has been a high-profile name in the Labour party for many years. She entered parliament in 2005 representing the Islington South and Finsbury seat, and currently holds a staggering 20,000 majority. She has not been shy of criticism; most notably during the infamous Rochester by election in 2014 whereby she tweeted a message supposedly mocking a local resident hanging an English flag outside of his window. Nonetheless, she is a very experienced politician, and has served in the shadow cabinet both under Corbyn and Ed Miliband.
Nevertheless, it is still surprising to see Emily Thornberry as the favourite to replace Corbyn. This is mainly because she is not known to be a democratic socialist, such as Corbyn, but she could be seen to unite both the far-left and the Blairites of the party. However, the chances of her standing are unlikely because she knows that there are younger socialists who could replace Corbyn when the time comes. Although Emily Thornberry certainly seems like a credible replacement, in reality it is very unlikely.
Sir Keir Starmer 10/1
Unlike many leadership contenders, Sir Kier Starmer has had a very successful career outside of politics. He was a very successful defence lawyer specialising in human rights, but a few years later he became Director of Public Prosecutions and eventually head of the CPS. Starmer represents the constituency of Holburn and St Pancreas with a huge majority of 30,000. Currently, he serves in Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet as the shadow Brexit secretary, and is arguably the pinnacle as to why people support Labour’s Brexit plan.
If Sir Keir Starmer were to become the Labour leader, this would certainly be a very credible and realistic option. Undoubtedly, this man has a huge amount of respect both within the Labour and the Conservative party. His remarkable experience and career outside of politics is exactly what people would respect as he is not a career politician. Although he would perhaps be more aligned with the Blairite ideology, his service to Corbyn would allow him to have support from either side. If Labour were to choose Starmer as their next leader, then the Conservatives would definitely be worried!
Angela Rayner 10/1
38 year-old Angela Rayner would not be a surprising contender for the Labour leadership. She is a strong support of Jeremy Corbyn and his socialist agenda. Prior to entering the Houses of Parliament, she left school as a pregnant teenager and then became a care worker before starting her career as a union representative. Currently, she is serving as the shadow education secretary in Corbyn’s cabinet and has proposed the ‘national education service’ policy, which is based around the current structure of the national health service. She represents the constituency of Ashton-under-Lyne with a strong majority of 11,000.
Although this would be surprising if Rayner were to become Labour leader, it is certainly not impossible. She is a loyal supporter of Corbyn and this would attract the majority of Labour members to rally behind her. However, the issue would be over whether she is a credible leader and one who would be able to win elections and attract the marginal voters.
John McDonnell 16/1
This man barely needs an introduction as he is the shadow chancellor and a loyal servant of Corbyn and the socialist movement. He has represented the constituency of Hayes and Harlington since 1997, with a solid 18,000 majority. He has previously attempted to stand for Labour leader in 2010 after Gordon Brown resigned, but withdrew his nomination to support Diane Abbot. McDonnell has exactly the same ideology as Corbyn and this would attract loyal supporters.
However, the one significant problem is that he is too similar to Corbyn both in age and ideas. A leadership contest is a chance for the younger members of the party to emerge and take control, and therefore it would be very surprising if he were to stand. Furthermore, as shadow chancellor it is often the case that he would lose all credibility if Corbyn stepped down, such as Osborne did when David Cameron resigned. McDonnell would certainly be a bold choice as Labour leader.
Rebecca Long-Bailey 16/1
Currently serving as the member of parliament for Salford and Eccles with a majority of 19,000, Mrs Long-bailey would be a risky choice. She is in Corbyn’s cabinet as shadow business and energy secretary. She was also one of the 36 MP’s who nominated Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership contest. Although she is not a household name, this choice would not seem as bizarre as some would say.
Although this would be very unlikely to happen, Mrs Long-Bailey is by no means a name we should write off. Like all of the other candidates, she would have the support of the Corbynites, and her previous career as a solicitor also earns her respect. However, she is not a bold character and it is very difficult to see her in a leadership position.