Friday 13 December 2019 6:40 am

Jeremy Corbyn to quit as Labour leader: Who will replace him?

Jeremy Corbyn has led Labour to its worst electoral defeat since 1935, leaving the party to now pick up the pieces from yesterday’s catastrophe.

Corbyn said he will not stand as party leader at the next General Election, however he did not give any firm commitment of when he would step down.

Read more: Boris Johnson’s Conservatives win huge election majority
Read more: Election night live: Follow the results as they come in

Speaking after he retained his Islington North seat, he said: “I will lead the party during that period to ensure that discussion takes place and we move on into the future.”


A fierce race will now begin to succeed Corbyn, with some pundits predicting a civil war between Corbyn loyalists and more moderate social democratic MPs.

Rebecca Long-Bailey

The Labour Party Launch Their Election Manifesto
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 21: Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks during the launch of the party’s election manifesto at Birmingham City University on November 21, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Rebecca Long-Bailey has been tipped for some time as a potential heir to Corbyn and is said to have support from shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Long-Bailey, who regained her Salford and Eccles seat, has been pushed by the party during the campaign and appeared in place of Corbyn at a leaders’ debate.

She has been a Corbynite true believer and could be backed by the powerful hard-left Momentum lobby group.

McDonnell, and others in the party leadership, have said the next leader should be a woman, meaning that Long-Bailey could be in poll position if members stick with a Corbyn candidate.

Keir Starmer

BRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-BREXIT-LABOUR
Britain’s main opposition Labour Party shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Keir Starmer speaks on Brexit during a Labour Party event in Harlow, north of London, on November 5, 2019. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Keir Starmer is currently the bookies’ favourite, at 7/4 with William Hill, however his ardent position on wanting a second Brexit referendum may hurt him.

Many Labour MPs, mostly on the left of the party, have begun to blame the party’s Brexit stance on losing many leave-voting seats in the North.


The Holborn and Pancras MP has become somewhat of a leader for the moderate wing of the Labour Party as shadow Brexit secretary.

He could be seen as a figure of stability, however it is unknown if the party’s membership base would support him in a leadership election.

Emily Thornberry

Jeremy Corbyn Attends Islington North Count And Declaration
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 13: Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (R) and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry meet after both retaining their Parliamentary seats following the count at Sobell leisure centre on December 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The Islington South and Finsbury MP will be another from the social democratic wing of Labour that will have her eyes on the leadership.

The shadow foreign secretary used her acceptance speech at the count to evoke the memory of Neil Kinnock – the former Labour leader to take over after the disastrous 1983 election.

“I was thinking back to the words of Neil Kinnock of the eve of that [1983] election warning the ordinary, the young, the ill and the old, and what would happen to them if Thatcher would win,” she said.

“We need to sound all the same warnings tonight.”

Jess Phillips

Protests Take Place As MPs Vote On Preventing A No Deal Brexit
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 04: Labour MP Jess Phillips for Birmingham Yardley stands on the street as Pro-remain supporters gather in Westminster on September 4, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The real dark horse in the race is the popular Jess Phillips, who has often been a vocal critic of the Corbynite project.

Twitter was abuzz this morning with talk that she should be the one to replace Corbyn and be someone who could appeal to voters in the Midlands and the North.

However, while she’s very popular among the public, she does not seem to have as much support in the party.

She has often been branded as a Blairite, used by those on the Momentum-left as a pejorative, despite having a more socialist background.

She was asked by ITV this morning if she would stand for the leadership.

“I have absolutely no idea is the truth, I haven’t slept for 48 hours,” she said.

Read more: General Election night: Who are the big MP casualties?

“I don’t know what is going to happen next.”

Angela Rayner

Jeremy Corbyn Campaigns For Labour In The Midlands
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner speaks during a Labour Party campaign rally on December 05, 2019 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Darren Staples/Getty Images)

The shadow education secretary is well-fancied as a leadership contender, however some have said she would not run against good friend Long-Bailey.

Rayner has been touted in recent days as someone from the left of the party that could be willing to bring it more to the centre.

The Ashton-Under-Lyne MP has an interesting backstory, after leaving school at 16 and going on to work as a social care worker.

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