Five candidates will be in the race to be the next Labour leader, after Emily Thornberry secured enough backing with moments to spare.

The shadow foreign secretary succeeded in getting the necessary 22 nominations from Labour MPs – joining Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips and the favourite Keir Starmer.

But Clive Lewis, the sixth potential candidate, pulled out after gaining only five nominations, before “throwing down the gauntlet” to the others to pursue his policies.

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There will also be five candidates to become the deputy leader – with Angela Rayner the overwhelming favourite to beat Rosena Allin-Khan, Richard Burgon, Dawn Butler and Ian Murray.

The race is now on to clear the next hurdle, to gain nominations from 5 per cent of constituency Labour parties (33), or from at least three affiliate organisations, of which at least two must be unions.

The final nomination figures underlined why Sir Keir, the shadow Brexit secretary – with 89 supporters – is the candidate to beat.

He left the early frontrunner, shadow business secretary Ms Long-Bailey – who has endured a difficult start to her campaign – trailing badly with 33 nominations.

Ms Nandy, who is championing Labour’s need to win back support in towns, had 31, ahead of Ms Phillips (23) and Ms Thornberry (23).

Sir Keir said he was “pleased” by his level of support,” adding: “Another future is possible – but we have to fight for it. If you want to be a part of the campaign, join me.”

Earlier, Mr Lewis – who had secured just five nominations – admitted he had no chance of getting on the ballot, but argued he had made the running on policy.

“Whilst I’m disappointed not to have progressed further, I’m proud to have led the debate on key issues such as progressive alliances, electoral reform, democracy in our country, democracy within the Labour Party, racism and diversity, and the climate crisis.

“These issues aren’t going away and, given the scale of our last defeat, need to be tackled head on with sharp ideas and credible strategy so we can win the next election for the millions of people who deserve a Labour government.”

A relieved Ms Thornberry thanked her colleagues for getting her in the race, saying: “It’s wonderful to have four strong women going through to the next stage.”

In the deputy’s race, Ms Rayner is the clear frontrunner (88 nominations), ahead of Mr Murray (34), Ms Butler (29), Ms Allin-Khan (23) and Mr Burgon (22).

People have until 20 January to join the party if they wish to vote in the elections, with Ms Phillips thought the most likely candidate to inspire an influx.

A 48-hour window for people to sign up as registered supporters, for a cut-price £25, will open on Tuesday this week.

The results will be announced at a special conference on 4 April, with Jeremy Corbyn having dismayed many Labour MPs by insisting on staying on until then.

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