As the Labour leadership contest narrows, there’s a danger it could become a personality contest
Editorial: The risk is candidates reassure members the party does not need radical change, putting off much-needed debate
In the first stage of the Labour leadership contest, six would-be runners have been whittled down to five – Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, who secured the necessary 22 nominations from Labour MPs and MEPs at the last minute.
Clive Lewis withdrew just before the deadline, when it was obvious he would not clear the hurdle. It is a pity that Mr Lewis is no longer in the race, as he had posed some of the far-reaching questions the party should address before choosing its next leader. For example, whether Labour should form a progressive alliance with other parties and come out for proportional representation.
There is a danger that Labour puts the cart before the horse, rushing into a personality contest before a thorough inquest into the party’s worst election defeat since 1935. The risk is that candidates reassure Labour members whose votes they need that the party does not need radical change, putting off the much-needed debate and home truths until after they are elected. Such an approach might mean that tomorrow never comes.