Labour’s post-election period of reflection has already turned into a factional race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as MPs came out swinging yesterday.
The party looks set for a factional showdown as those on the Corbynite left face off against Labour moderates.
Both sides of the divide have made calls for people to join the party before the leadership election – expected to be in spring – to try and shore up the vote for their respective sides.
Labour’s 500,000-person membership is dominated by those from the left of the party, with socialist pressure group Momentum holding sway.
Corbyn posted a video on social media yesterday, urging people to join Labour in what was seen as an attempt to shore up the left’s control of the party.
Meanwhile, potential leadership challenger, and frequent Corbyn critic, Jess Phillips made a plea for those who have left the party to return.
“If you are upset with the result or if you are upset with the party, you need to join,” she said. “Labour members have actual power.”
Former Tony Blair press secretary Alastair Campbell made a similar statement on Twitter.
“I really think former members of Labour should rejoin,” he said.
“The early signs of the ‘period of reflection’ suggest that some reflection input from those who left might be helpful both in the analysis and the aftermath.”
Despite those calls from moderate voices, it is shadow business secretary, and Corbyn ally, Rebecca Long-Bailey who is now the bookies’ favourite to be next leader.
She received a boost today, after shadow chancellor John McDonnell gave his strongest indication yet he would endorse her if she runs for the leadership.
“You know my view, I think Becky Long-Bailey has done a great job, but you’ve got a team there,” he said.
“Becky is brilliant and she could be a brilliant leader.”
Former club house leaders Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry, meanwhile, appeared to take a hit as they were chided for their respective roles in formulating the party’s Brexit stance.
The party’s decision to back a second referendum is seen as one reason Labour lost many of its heartland northern seats on the way to its worst electoral defeat since 1935.
Ousted MP Caroline Flint said neither should be leader and that Thornberry had said voters in Flint’s leave voting constituency were “stupid”.
Thornberry denies the accusation.
It came as Wigan MP Lisa Nandy indicated that she was “seriously thinking” about running for leader as she set out her vision to decentralise the party’s structures away from London.