After pulling out of the Labour leadership contest himself, Chuka Umunna has given his star-studded endorsement to Liz Kendall, along with his leadership team of Emma Reynolds, Stephen Twigg and Jonathan Reynolds. In an article for the New Statesman, Umunna writes:
‘For us, our next leader must get this vision right. On all these big subjects, Liz Kendall has asked the tough questions and started to chart a course to the answers. She has been courageous in challenging conventional wisdom. She has no compunction in moving Labour beyond our comfort zone and is determined to build a team ready to chart a route forward. This is exactly what our party needs and that is why we are nominating her to be the next leader of the Labour Party.’
Perhaps this isn’t a great surprise, given Umunna’s own position in the party, and given Kendall was known to have a ‘breakfast club’ with Emma Reynolds, Umunna and Tristram Hunt (who already backs her). But it shows that he is keen to muck in with a leadership campaign which will require all hands on deck.
It might, cynics could suggest, also be Umunna hoping that Kendall will do a lot of the groundwork that will help a new Labour leader in 2020 when the party makes gains but fails to win the election. But that’s all rather far off, for now. It means that Kendall is now, even if not officially, the ‘Progress candidate’ in this election.