Today, Jon Lansman’s 40,000-strong Corbynista pressure group announced its support for the Shadow Business Secretary’s leadership bid and promises to ‘mobilise thousands’ of campaigners throughout the election campaign.
Momentum’s internal ballot showed that 70% of the group would support Long-Bailey as leader of the opposition, with 52% endorsing Angela Rayner as deputy.
Despite an extremely low turnout, with just 7,000 of the 40,000 members actually casting their vote, Momentum have declared that: “our membership has spoken and overwhelmingly backed Rebecca Long-Bailey to be the next leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister”.
Alike to 2015 and 2016, Momentum have been encouraging sympathetic voters to join the Labour Party. As a consequence, 14,700 people have joined the party. Although this is far smaller than the 180,000 members who joined during the Corbyn campaign.
The surge in membership applications came after Momentum posted a video on Facebook and Twitter calling for their supporters to become official members of the Labour Party. The video was viewed by 135,000 people on Facebook, with an additional 22,000 views on Twitter.
This is a major boost for Long-Bailey after Britain’s largest trade union, Unison, endorsed the Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer.
Long-Bailey reacted to Momentum’s decision by expressing that she was ‘proud and beyond grateful to be backed by an organisation that has revolutionised how we campaign.’
This comes just days after Survation coupled up with LabourList in producing the second poll of the leadership race.
The poll, that interviewed over 3,000 LabourList readers, produced a massive swing to Long-Bailey, with the Shadow Business Secretary having 42% support, up from 23% in the YouGov poll.
She displaces Starmer at the top of the first round of voting, with the former chair of the Crown Prosecution Service stuck under the 40% mark. Compared to the YouGov poll Starmer’s support increases by just 1% to 37%.
The remaining candidates are far behind, all in single-digits, with Thornberry and Phillips losing support since the YouGov poll.
Support for the MP for Birmingham Yardley has fallen from 12% to 9%. While, the Shadow Foreign Secretary’s backing has plummeted from 7% to just 1%.
The pollster also asked the 3,800 participants who they would support in the final round of voting. Unlike the YouGov poll that expressed overwhelming support for Starmer, Survation’s indicate that Long-Bailey will narrowly edge it. The Shadow Business Secretary is polled to win 51% of the support, compared to 49% for Starmer.
Nevertheless, Long-Bailey has come under fire from her challengers for leader over abortion. The Salford and Eccles MP voiced concern over a Labour motion to enable a pregnancy to be terminated after 24-weeks if the foetus is known to have a disability.
Jess Phillips, who is also on the ballot, criticised the practicing Roman Catholic, by saying that she will always “trust women to make the decisions about their bodies”.
By J Walters