Lisa Nandy won the first Labour leadership hustings – but her bid is still vulnerable

Labour leadership candidate and former shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy.

The Wigan MP’s eclectic strategy risks winning her more enemies than friends.

The first hustings of the Labour leadership contest – the closed-door hustings for the Parliamentary Labour Party – has taken place, and the winner is Lisa Nandy. I use that term relatively speaking: Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Jess Phillips can all be pretty certain of getting enough support among MPs to make it through to the next stage of the contest – the hunt for nominations from constituency parties and trade unions – while Lisa Nandy, Clive Lewis and Emily Thornberry have a fight on their hands to get the 22 nominations they need from MPs/MEPs.

Thornberry and Lewis face an uphill battle to make it onto the ballot. Thornberry’s leadership campaign is the victim of the fact that Labour politics has changed – Corbynites no longer need the support of outsiders to reach the ballot, and pragmatic Corbynsceptics no longer believe that Thornberry represents their most viable route back – while Lewis is the victim of the fact it hasn’t changed enough – there aren’t quite enough MPs from the party’s left for two candidates from that wing to make the ballot.

Nandy’s strong performance yesterday means that her hopes of getting to 22 have been given a considerable boost. But what about the next stage? There are two routes onto the ballot: with the support of trade unions or the support of ordinary party members. Nandy is in a dangerous zone as far as name recognition is concerned: she isn’t that well-known among the average Labour Party member but she is well-known enough among political journalists and hyper-engaged Labour members that no-one is rushing to commission a “who is Lisa Nandy?” profile.

But growing familiarity has other risks, too. Nandy had an …read more

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