The dynamics of the Labour leadership election were radically altered when the leftwinger Jeremy Corbyn secured, with minutes to spare, the 35 nominations required to stand. His inclusion on the ballot delighted his supporters but demoralised some MPs, who said it would “pervert the centre of gravity of the debate even further from where the public are”.
John Mann, the Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said Corbyn’s candidacy showed the party’s desire never to win again. Jonathan Reynolds, a supporter of another leadership contender, Liz Kendall, said it showed that Labour was not taking itself seriously.
Those who nominated Corbyn late included three London mayoral contenders – David Lammy, Sadiq Khan and Gareth Thomas. They acted in the final few minutes before the deadline not because they want Corbyn to be leader, but because they feel his strand of anti-austerity politics should be represented in the contest.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, who had been positioning herself as the compromise centre candidate in a field of three between Kendall and Andy Burnham, may be the biggest short-term loser. By contrast, Burnham, who was concerned that he was being portrayed as the leftwing, union-backed candidate, can now point to Corbyn on his political left.