Chuka Umunna's surprise withdrawal from Labour leader race leaves Burnham and Yvette Cooper as front runners
A surprising announcement on Friday saw the Next Labour Leader market reshuffled, with Chuka Umunna declaring he would no longer be standing.
Umunna was the bookies favourite to replace Ed Miliband, although the 36-year-old has now said he’s not ready to challenge for the role of opposition leader. The Streatham MP clearly wasn’t prepared for the media onslaught that has occurred this week, although it now means Andy Burnham is favourite to get the job.
Andy Burnham 11/10 with Ladbrokes
The MP for Leigh being installed as Labour leader wouldn’t exactly represent a change in direction for the party, although the Shadow Secretary of State and Health enjoyed a resounding victory in his constituency.
Mr Burnham said: “Leigh has roared back. It is wrong that any child is fed by a foodbank, that vulnerable people go into debt because they happen to have a spare room in their house, that young people have their dream of university snatched away, that our ambulance services have been privatised without anybody asking the permission of the people.
“This election will be remembered for the rise of nationalism in Scotland, Wales and here in England too, but I send notice that I believe in Leigh and Britain and will be fighting for both in the next five years.”
Burnham’s northern background would appeal to working-class voters more than Miliband did and he has to be seen as the front-runner.
Yvette Cooper 2/1 with Ladbrokes
Cooper’s Election evening was largely an uncomfortable one as Labour suffered heavy losses including that of her husband Ed Balls. However, she was a comfortable winner and a female leader could be what the party needs to move forward.
She refused to comment on speculation over the new Labour leader after triumphing in her own borough, although has since declared she will run for this position and appears to have plenty of backers within her own party.
Liz Kendall 6/1 with Ladbrokes
Kendall is not a household name in British politics although she will be appreciated by many in the country for claiming that the previous Labour government did overspend, something that Ed Miliband rejected. Her main leadership argument will be calling for a reform of public services.
She told the Daily Mirror: “We have got to. We can’t offer more of the same, we can’t have another defeat because that’s letting people down.
“And never again will a bunch of born-to-rule Conservatives convince people they are better bet for Britain than us but that means taking a hard long look at ourselves and if we really face up to what’s gone wrong in the past we can build a better future.”
She also apologised to Mirror readers and added: “Mirror readers stuck with us through thick and thin and we let them down. I’m really sorry about that and determined to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Tristram Hunt 10/1 with Ladbrokes
The MP for Stoke-on-Trent is also interested in becoming Labour leader and has made a series of impressive TV performances since the General Election, although will still be regarded as an outsider.
He has recently written: “We in the Labour party now face a triple bind: the rise of nationalism in Scotland; the loss of confidence in middle England; and a lack of trust in large parts of traditionally Labour communities. Rebuilding an electoral coalition which has fragmented towards the SNP, Ukip and the Tories can never be adequately addressed by a series of tailored policy solutions. It is much more a question of instinct, message, trust and sentiment”.
Mary Creagh 12/1 with Ladbrokes
The shadow international development secretary claims that Labour have failed to understand people’s ideals and aspirations. Randomly, she used the Daily Mail to announce her credentials despite the newspaper being part of the right-wing Murdoch media that slammed Miliband in the run-up to the election.
She wrote: “I want to earn back the trust that middle England has lost in the Labour party. We forgot the hard-learned lessons of our last three election victories; that to win elections a party needs to offer hope.
“Labour didn’t just lose middle England last week. We lost Scotland and our industrial heartlands as well. I want to earn back the trust that Scotland has lost in the Labour party where people were angry and felt that Westminster politics wasn’t working for them.”
She warned that Labour lost the election because people did not trust the party on the economy. “People felt that Labour didn’t understand their aspiration to earn money and provide a better life for their family,” she wrote. “People trust Labour to look after their schools, hospitals and council services. But they simply do not trust us to run the economy and make them better off. That must change.”