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Labour leadership hopefuls have gone head-to-head for the chance to succeed Jeremy Corbyn at the party's first hustings.

Sir Keir Starmer has cemented his early lead in the contest with a new YouGov poll of Labour members handing him a clear lead over his nearest rival, left-wing contender Rebecca Long-Bailey.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry was struggling to make up ground as she launched her campaign on Friday, with prominent backbenchers Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips also trailing behind.

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The hustings in Liverpool on Saturday also saw a clash between deputy leadership hopefuls, where Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, is the clear favourite.

Welcome to The Independent's politics liveblog, where we will be bringing you all the latest from the first Labour leadership hustings.
Sir Keir Starmer has taken an early lead in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn, and has managed to solidify his position ahead of Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lizzy Buchan writes:

Keir Starmer cements early lead over rival Rebecca Long-Bailey ahead of first hustings

Five candidates to succeed Jeremy Corbyn will battle it out at event in Liverpool
Labour is hosting its first hustings for leader and deputy leadership candidate in Liverpool today, from 11.30am.
 
You can watch the livestream here:
 
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Early front-runner Sir Keir Starmer is competing against Rebecca Long-Baily and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, who officially launched their campaigns to become Labour leader on Friday night.
 
Backbenchers Jess Phillips and Lisa Nandy also entered the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

Who are the candidates and what do they stand for?

Setting out her stall in her hometown of Guildford, Ms Thornberry warned Labour faces "a long, tough road back to power" after the party suffered its worst general election defeat since 1935.

The Islington South and Finsbury MP, who narrowly secured the necessary support from MPs to enter the race on Monday, insisted she was the best placed to oust Boris Johnson as prime minister within five years.

"Boris Johnson has all sorts of problems with women. And he is going to have an even bigger one if I become leader of the Labour Party," she told the Press Association.

"I think that he has a problem with women. I have spoken to a number of women who have said that the way he deals with them - and they are younger women - is that he flirts with them.

"He makes light of them and he undermines them. He has problems with women such as myself. He doesn't know what to do with me. I think that he doesn't know how to relate to women."

She added: "I think that a competent alternative government could get back into power within five years."
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Shadow business secretary Ms Long-Bailey launched her campaign with a speech in Manchester, in which she said her party did not talk enough about "aspiration".

She also vowed to "shake up" the way government works, and put power into the hands of voters.

Described as a "continuity Corbyn" candidate said to be favoured by the current leadership and backed by campaign group Momentum, her supporters have bridled at the description.

As she took to the stage at the Museum of Science and Industry, some of the 300 or so supporters at the event broke into a chant of "Oh Jeremy Corbyn".

Ms Long-Bailey told them: "Hey guys, we're going to have to think of a new song you know. No pressure."

When was asked why Labour had failed with voters, returning their worst electoral result since 1935, she said: "I think for me we had some fantastic policies, I know because I helped write some of them, and really the message didn't resonate with our voters. And what we should have been talking about is aspiration.

"Because everything we are trying to build and I am going to try to build as leader of the Labour Party is about realising the potential, truly realising that quality of life increase, whether you are a business, whether you are an industry or an individual, our role as a party is to improve your living standards and the wealth you can accumulate as communities.

"And we didn't say that. We didn't match that with a message of aspiration. We want an economy where everyone does well."
A lot of questions have been submitted for the first Labour leadership hustings.
The Labour leadership's first regional hustings is just about to begin in Liverpool.
 
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The candidates have all given concise answers to the question of how they would unite the Labour party and put a stop to factionalism.
 
Rebecca Long-Baily said Labour had not been united over the last four years, while Jess Phillips said the Labour leader would need to build a broad team. 
 
Emily Thornberry said Labour had to stick together to achieve its purpose of fighting the Tories and coming to power. "It will not happen unless we are united," she said.
 
Lisa Nandy praised the "loyalty and experience" of Labour activists who have gone out door-knocking for 20 years.
 
Sir Keir Starmer said: "We need to draw the strength, the passion, the dedication and commitment of our members when we are together. We are unstoppable when we are united."
 
The candidates are all sticking to their allocated 40-seconds to give their responses, making for a quick-moving debate.
Responding to a question of why they are the person to beat Boris Johnson, Ms Thornberry said the way she would take him on "because that prime minister needs to be exposed".
 
Ms Nandy said Labour needs somebody who can speak for the whole country.
 
Sir Keir said the Labour leader would have to unite the party, form an effective opposition and forge a path to victory.
 
Ms Long-Baily said "an aspirational socialist government" would "drive through democratic reform, democratise our economy" and ensure prosperity reaches every community Labour represents.
 
Ms Phillips said she had a track-record of taking on Mr Johnson from the back benches. "We've got to start talking to people's hearts and speaking in a message that people receive, because that's what Boris Johnson does." She said "this is the fight of our lives" and Labour had to do something "different and bold", before claiming the prime minister would be "terrified" to face her.
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Sir Keir has said he will not be giving any interview's to The Sun during the Labour leadership campaign.
Both Ms Long-Baily and Ms Phillips have criticised the impact of social media on the coverage of politics and politicians.
 
Ms Thornberry said she would stand down if she was smeared by the media in a general election, "because I will never get in the way of a Labour victory".
Labour needs to "look within and see what went wrong" after it lost the trust of many Jewish members, Ms Long-Baily has said in response to a question about antisemitism within the party.
 
Ms Phillips said it was "deeply serious" that Jewish people were scared of the Labour party winning the election. "Not only do we owe it to our Jewish members, our Jewish members, our Jewish groups and Jewish allies. We have lost the moral high ground to fight racism in this country because of the way that we have handled antisemitism."
 
Ms Thornberry said Labour has to stand up to racism, which she said was "unacceptable" because it "undermines our party and it undermines our soul". She said Labour should kick out antisemities "in the same way that Oswald Mosley was kicked out of Liverpool in 1937."
 
It is "perfectly possible" to fight for the recognition of Palestine and to defend the right of Israel to exist, Ms Nandy said. "We cannot go out and claim to be creating a more equal, fairer and more compassionate society unless we get our own house in order."
 
Sir Keir said it was possible to criticise Israeli policies without being antisemitic. "But the other part is simple, if you're antisemitic you shouldn't be in the Labour party. It is as simple as that."
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Earlier, Ms Phillips took a swipe at some her fellow contenders for keeping quiet over antisemitism in the party.
 
She said: "The Labour Party needs a leader who has spoken out against antisemitism, and other forms of harassment in fact.
 
"When others were keeping quite and somebody who was in the room, struggling for an independent system - lots and lots of meetings - I have to say I don't remember some of the people here being in that particular room or being in those particular fights."
The candidates have been given two minutes to set out their final pledges and explain why they should be elected Labour leader.
 
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"Being leader of the Labour Party in opposition is, quite frankly, the worst job in the world," Ms Thornberry has said. 

"That's what we are applying for. In the end we have to wade through an awful lot of s**t."
The deputy leader hustings will begin at 2pm.

 

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