Analysis

Exclusive: Rayner and right-wing hopefuls ‘on manoeuvres’ as Starmer’s and Labour’s polling dives

Cooper and Reeves among right-wing MPs said by insiders to be angling for top job as well as the current deputy leader – but there could be a spanner in the works for any of them

On manoeuvres? Rayner, Cooper and Reeves

As Labour’s and party leader Keir Starmer’s polling and prospects continue to plumment, with pollsters now predicting a Tory win even in Hartlepool and even Tony Blair reportedly tiring of him, a number of MPs are already ‘on manoeuvres’ to replace him according to Labour insiders.

Figures close to the leadership say that Angela Rayner and Yvette Cooper are already preparing for a challenge, with Rachel Reeves also in the frame – and a further, Sadiq Khan-backed MP said to be playing a longer game.

Angela Rayner

Figures close to Rayner, who was the subject of speculation in the Murdoch press last weekend over her disillusionment with Starmer, have been heavily briefing the media in an attempt to create ‘buzz’ about her leadership prospects. An MP close to her camp said ‘She’s definitely on manoeuvres’.

The Times report also confirmed what Skwawkbox reported weeks ago about her team‘s interference in the Liverpool mayoral selection as part of an attempt to build up a power base in the north-west supportive of her leadership ambitions:

Meanwhile Starmer’s allies are incandescent about how Rayner’s team has handled the process of selecting the Labour candidate for Liverpool mayor. A Labour official said: “There is absolute fury at how Angela’s team botched the selection.

Yvette Cooper

Cooper, meanwhile, has been touted for a promotion in the media and managed to trend on social media last week, but even more significantly her own social media activity and briefings by her allies to the media have party insiders convinced that she is eyeing another bid for the party’s top job.

One senior source told Skwawkbox:

Yvette has had a rush of mentions in the friendly media, but her own social media activity has been off the scale for an MP whose main activity is as chair of the Home Affairs [Select] Committee, even during recess she’s been busy.

Cooper has also continued to receive significant donations from former Tory donor Peter Hearn and his company MPM Connect Limited.

Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves is another MP that insiders are mentioning in connection with a bid, but many feel that she doesn’t have enough personality to mount a serious challenge. However, Keir Starmer’s decision to throw her under a bus over the Easter weekend to cover for his widely-criticised appearance at a homophobic church will have angered the right-wing MP who has had her eye on the Shadow Chancellor job. Reeves is unlikely to have enough support to win and is considered by many to more of a ‘stalking horse’, but her allies point to the large number of left members who have quit the party since Starmer became leader – and to the fact that the right-dominated National Executive Committee (NEC) could set a freeze date that would prevent rejoiners from voting in a leadership election.

Rosena Allin-Khan

Behind the scenes, Blairites consider Tooting MP Rosena Allin-Khan to be a strong prospect for the leadership, pointing to what they consider a strong showing in last year’s deputy leadership contest. Allin-Khan is also said to be strongly favoured by London mayor Sadiq Khan. However, some say that her ambitions are on a slower burn and that the prospects of an Allin-Khan challenge for the leadership are less imminent. The fact that Khan is expected to win re-election as mayor in May, with the Tory bid imploding after the party reportedly ‘cut funding lines’ to Tory candidate Shaun Bailey, might cause the prospect to crystallise rapidly after the local elections.

Lisa Nandy

Nandy has also been mentioned in the media over the weekend as a figure that Starmer’s team fears, but her recent low profile on social media stands in stark contrast with Cooper’s high activity and insiders feel she has decided now is not the time for her own bid.

A spanner in the works?

One potential risk to all these would-be leaders is the potential return to parliamentary politics of Andy Burnham, whose route back to the Commons looks likely to open soon. The instinctively loyal Burnham would prefer to allow Starmer to play out his leadership before a potential challenge, but his enhanced popularity after his performance as Greater Manchester mayor during the pandemic will worry Cooper in particular and the possibility of his return as a qualified challenger has added pressure to Cooper to act sooner rather than later.

Keir Starmer’s house of cards looks increasingly shaky around him and the aftermath of May’s elections could be the trigger for it to be blown down.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your help. The site is provided free of charge but depends on the support of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to without hardship, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here to set up a monthly donation via GoCardless (SKWAWKBOX will contact you to confirm the GoCardless amount). Thanks for your solidarity so SKWAWKBOX can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

65 comments

    1. He’d be the closest thing to a Left candidate of any of them, which is simply depressing.

    2. Who cares? A pox on all their houses.

      There is NO way I will come back or vote for this right-wing scum. They hate socialism don’t want it in the sodding Labour party FFS. So why would I give a flying fig who the next right-wing scumbag in charge is?

      As far as I am concerned nothing will change. Met the new scumbag the same as the last no ta… If your fooled into rejoining why? Nothing will change the right wing cult of new Labour is in charge and they hate socialism. So why support a party that now hates my idology

      So why should I ignore my socialism just because the top dog has changed…!

      1. Yes, I agree but I don’t think you realise just how gorgeous these ladies believe themselves to be. Who is this Allin-Khan person? Nepotism? I left London 25 years ago and recent visits have led me to believe that Khan might win again. Tells you a lot that.

      2. Wobbly – Dr Rosena Allin-Khanall came second in the Deputy Leadership Election. She beat Richard Burgon into 3rd place.

      3. @Disabledgrandad This is the reality. Good post.

        @Wobbly London doesn’t represent the rest of the UK. Had to go there last year. Could not get out of the place fast enough. London is the epicentre bid distilled dog eat dog

  1. Cooper? – a strong possibility
    Reeves? – Nancy Astorgate could be employed by the Tories … no chance
    Allin-Khan? – No way
    Nandy? – Can’t see it, too prone to gaffes
    Burnham? – Maybe, if he can get into parliament soon enough
    Rayner? – Pass the laudunum

      1. Steve, if your comment means that you think that I was outlining support for either Cooper, I seem to have misled you. I was simply saying what I thought the likely outcome would be if the great and the good decided to remove Starmer.
        What would I hope for? Well, the best that could be asked for at present, is anyone who would stop the warfare, readmit all those who have been excluded to curry favour with pressure groups, adopt the policies that were so popular in 2017 and adopt the Jerusalem Declaration. There’s no chance, of course, so I’ll just have to watch the carnage with interest.

      2. goldbach – I don’t think a leadership election before the next GE will serve either the left or the RW.
        If there was a challenge before the GE even if the left were able to field a candidate it is very unlikely they would win The party membership has changed – approximately 100,000 Corbyn supporters have left the party but they have been replaced with around 100,000 Starmer supporters.
        If the next GE is a disaster then Keir will probably resign and there will be a vacancy so the left’s candidate(s) will only need 10% PLP nominations (not the 20% required for a challenge).
        Whether you like it or not there is a good chance that Keir would win any challenge. The membership don’t take too kindly to the PLP telling them that they got it wrong.
        The left should take a longer view and be careful what they wish for.

      3. “Do ‘the left’ really want to replace Keir Starmer with Yvette Cooper?”

        I don’t think it matters which non-socialist leads the Labour party, a philosophical (i.e. ontolological or existential) belief in the opposition of human and capital is essential. Whether they dress it up as ‘third way’, ‘trilateral’ or ‘moderate’, “the left” is predominantly socialist and the antagonism of capital and the human is a feature of our belief system.

      4. The post you were responding to was simply trying to assess the liklihood that each of those people would stand for the leadership-not the degree to which that poster would support any of them.

        Would you at least agree, SteveH, that the last year shows that the party has little if anything to gain from treating Corbyn supporters like the enemy. Is it not time to move past that and begin to work for something ilke reconciliation with them?

        They did nothing wrong, after all, and there wasn’t anybody who stood against Corbyn for the leadership in either 2015 or 2016 who’d have led Labour to any stronger electoral showings, and in any case Corbyn himself isn’t going to stand for the leadership again, so you would agree that the time for proscription/anathemisation- if it was ever justified at all- needs to come to end, right SteveH?

      5. Steve, I’m sure that you are right that a left candidate is unlikely, were there to be an election for a new leader. However, I don’t think that there would be a “challenge” in any case. I think that there is a possibility that, if things go badly for Labour in May, Starmer might be persuaded, by “senior Labour sources”, to fall on his sword. If that were to happen the calculation would be about who could APPEAR to be a unifying candidate. Who could that be?
        I would question one thing you said, and that is the numbers you quote. If 100K members have left and 100K have joined, why are we told by much of the media that party membership is down by about 100K from its high point under Corbyn?

      6. goldbach – You haven’t taken into consideration the low point in the membership under Corbyn’s tenure. Before the 19GE the membership was down to about 440,000. The membership eligible to vote in the leadership election was 562,835 (20/01/21) and membership numbers reached an all time high of over 580,000 in Feb21. It has since dropped back to around 500,000.

      7. “approximately 100,000 Corbyn supporters have left the party but they have been replaced with around 100,000 Starmer supporters.”

        Mad man! 🤯

      8. lundiel – I note that you’ve chosen to attack me rather than the message. I wonder why?

      9. 100,000 Starmer supporters…

        PMSL at such a bollocks statement

      10. Yes, Steve, Starmer got that vote share(which is lower than the vote share Corbyn got in either of HIS leadership victories, though you seem to have joined those who argue that Corbyn’s TWO leadership wins were somehow illegitimate, for some reason), but he GOT that by promising he would not make attacking the Left or demonizing Corbyn the organizing principles of his tenure as leader. Starmer promised to EXPAND internal party democracy; instead of that, he has all-but-abolished it and has made it clear that only people from the right wing of the party will be allowed to stand as Labour candidates.

        There is no justification either for Starmer’s suppression of dissent or for the fact that he has driven virtually all young people OUT of the party(there’s no such thing as a “Labour moderate” under 40, if you’ve somehow not noticed). The activists and the idealists have all been either silenced, suspended, expelled or driven to quit in despair.

        And the polls prove that Starmer’s obsession with anathemising and essentially proscribing those Corbyn supporters who refused to give up on their commitment to fighting for a socialist future has produced no measurable gains for the party in terms of public support and, if they haven’t done so when the country has every reason to hate Boris & Associates, they aren’t going to in the future.

        Would you not agree, SteveH, that Starmer’s obsession with erasing every vestige of what Corbyn and his supporters stood for needs to be abandoned? That he should finally start working for unity rather than retribution?

    1. Allin – Kahn
      Good singer, she can open for JC when he comes back as Chair / Spiritual Leader

    2. Cooper has a trackable history of dislike towards immigration. Her tweets are easily found.

      She’ll be popular with the gammons

  2. I very much doubt there will be a leadership challenge from the RW before the next GE. They have too much to loose and very little to gain

    ps:– Thelma Walker has yet to make much of an impact in Hartlepool. She is currently polling 2%.

      1. Doug – I don’t think that the RW are politically naive idiots, do you?

      2. Methinks Yes
        You always make the same mistake of trying to defend the indefensible

      3. SteveH
        The compos mentis of Red Tories
        Snouts in troughs they don’t have a socialist bone in their bodies, they believe in nothing but the kleptocracy

  3. Burnham is up for re-election, as GM Mayor, next month.

    In spite of that, it’s a NO to all of them, from me. Far too much history there, virtually, none of it good.

    1. TBF
      Burnham is a decent bloke but too soft, I’m not sure he has an original thought in his head
      But
      He learns quick, Hillsborough comes to mind
      Only realistic chance would be to convert to socialism

      1. Doug – You may be in with a chance on the conversion. One of the criticisms levelled at Burnham in the 2015 leadership election was that he is a bit of a wind-vane, As in – If you don’t like my principles I have others.

      2. I spoke to him at the Newcastle hustings 8n 2015 and asked him about Proportional Representation, he said he was in favour of the Billy Bragg system !
        Then i moved onto Angela Eagle, asked a civil question and received the sort of response you get when you shit in someone’s custard 🍮
        After that my conversion to JC was complete and I backed him

      3. Doug -Without PR any new ‘Socialist Party’ is dead in the water before it starts.
        Keir Starmer supports PR, the RW of the party don’t. Ironically a Starmer victory at the next GE would be brilliant news for those who have long dreamed of forming a new and pure ‘Socialist Party’.

      4. SteveH
        Democracy rarely happens overnight
        There are no Tories left in the Conservative Party, the national white peoples Brexit party took them over
        Red Tories will have the whip hand if they can convince the War Criminal to form a centrist party, they will hoover up Tories and LibDums
        That leaves Socialist Labour, ersatz Tories and British Trumpton party
        FPTP should wipe the last two out in a 3 horse race
        Once Democracy has been repaired, SNP politically bankrupted after another failed indyref, the Greens have joined Labour then it would work to move to PR

  4. Rachel ‘Labour will be tougher the the Tories on welfare ‘Reeves – NOT A CHANCE

    Yvette Cooper, who brought in the vile ATOS and abstained on the welfare Bill – NOT A CHANCE

    Angela Rayner, who dropped her socialist values along with the members and quickly deleted the ‘capitalist scum’ twitter post as soon as she became Deputy – We’ve seen you now – NOT A CHANCE

    Andy Burnham will know that he will have the right wing MP’s hounding him as leader, he doesn’t have to kowtow to them now he’s Mayor so can’t see why he would knowingly want to become the rights whipping boy when they can NEVER be placated unless you’re a full blown right winger.

  5. Remember how we laughed at rees-smog ruling himself out of any leadership bid when he reckoned there was already plenty of talent in the tory party?

    😕

  6. If any right winger, which means any of the above, take over the Leadership of the LP, without the slightest doubt, the destruction will continue. Which poses the question, are there any Socialists left in the Party who are good enough to run it?

    1. Any of the above will speed up the destruction of the Party.
      And in addition to her amazing capacity for gaffs, Ms Nandy, the Lady Macbeth of Labour politics always has a plot up her sleeve….

  7. Burnham is a populist MP who’s sole argument for getting himself elected leader was “I am Labour”, if he was worth anything he would never have challenged Jeremy Corbyn, but like all the rest of centrist fraternity he never thought the party would vote for a left winger.

    I wouldn’t trust him as either of the rest, they all come from the same stable and will be little better than Starmer himself.

    1. Or doctors. They should have one full-time job in the NHS, for the foreseeable.

      A few plumbers(not Pimlico plumbers), crafts(wo)men, trades(wo)men sprinkled around the place, wouldn’t go amiss.

  8. Never forget, Andy Burnham is the only government Health Secretary to place an NHS hospital, into private hands.

    Didn’t last long, it came back to the NHS, in short order, but…!

  9. They’re not even voting in their droves for Yvette in Pontefract, Castleford & Normanton. Her majority is 1,276 compared with the 2017 majority of 14,499 a massive slump. They used to weigh the votes in this CLP not count them! As for the right won’t eat their own, they will if they think they can get someone that they can control. That’s why they hated Jeremy, he’s not the establishment nor could they control him. The right aren’t interested in winning, just saving their own skins so they can have the illusion of power but not in power as a government. The sooner we vote these charlatans of office the better. The only way to control the right is confront them every day with their disgraceful policies and for the unions to exert control over them by not supporting right wing Labour MP’s, that’s difficult with GMB, Usdaw & Unison but not impossible

  10. Speaking personally, I’d welcome an aggressive coup attempt from the right, only because it would alert much of the non-political (and the political parts of it that rely on the MSM for their news and comment) electorate to the right-wing takeover of the PLP and a new Independent Labour Party would then be seen as a valid and welcome development by more of them than would support it otherwise.

    1. I think as voters we should launch an aggressive coupe at the next GE “The Great Neoliberal Neolabour Party Tories Purge” and revive the deceased UK Labour Party with the 10/15 Democratic Socialist MPs, like a Phoenix Rising, Albeit a small Phoenix this time round, but without the Neolabour Party Parasites it will be Gigantic at the following GE!

      1. It’s looking like the electorate are set to do that very thing. Down 7pts on a week, Labour is loosing support like Liza’s friend’s bucket. It’s not agressive in nature though, just disappointed and resigned to reality. No member of the Trilateral Commission should be a member of Labour, nevermind its leader.

        Yes, if Labour could exist without neoliberals predominating, it would be unstopable.

      2. I really hope so, it really is the only way that we will see the kind of lasting change Britain so desperately needs right now.
        We have to get the Neoliberals out, they play at a whole different set of rules, therefore Jeremy, even if he tried/wanted to Purge them, could not do it, but when it comes to the Ballot box we The People have the power, well sort of. If we see reform of the voting system! For one, all 650 Ballot Boxes with our votes travel from A to B with more than ONE volunteer alone. Perhaps the 3 leading Party Candidates could join the “Returning Officer” in their own private car to the Counting Centre.

        That is for sure we would be unstoppable, then we could demand safe and secure voting, for a start!
        Imagine 2017 or 2019 with 80% Democratic Socialist PLP and 20% Neoliberal PLPs just imagine how different everything would have been, even if we were a small party in 2017 in 2019 we’d have been in Nr10!
        With that same power and avoiding Brand/Label worshipping and a whole lot of common sense we could do just that.
        We need “Labour” back in the hands of Democratic Socialists, and out of the claws of the Neoliberals, even 2015 to 2020 it wasn’t, with 80% Neoliberal PLP!
        We will suffer the Tories in the short term and even with Neolabour, we will still suffer the Tories, might as well bite the bullet, get rid of them and reap our fruits at the following GE.

      3. There you go with all those names again Skellyknelly. You might know what is in your head but nobody else does.

      4. I am at a loss as to what you are so flabbergasted by. There are no names mentioned in my comments that have not been documented/used many times before in Media/Social Media.
        As I told you before if you get confused by my comments just skip them by, no need to put yourself through the hardship of reading my comments.
        I REALLY won’t/don’t mind.
        Your next pointless reply will simply be ignored by me.

  11. It really does not matter what they do, even if they make one of the 10/15 (now Deceased UK Labour Party) Democratic Socialist MPs the Leader just to see a repeat of 2015 to 2020, even then, with The UK Labour Party already Dead and The ruling Neoliberal Party Tories who call themselves “Left” “Left Leaning” or “Democratic Socialists” on Wikipedia, will they have NO CLUE as to what Politics of The People is, the only Politics they know is the Politics of Hate/The Machine/Elites/Establishment.
    Keep voting for this shit show, for the “Labour” namesake and all we’ll be doing is ensure another 41 years of Thatcherite Neolabour Tory Rule. This is the time to vote tactically and ruthlessly so! It is the only way, we might in the end have a Party with only 10/15 Democratic Socialists after the the GE, but we will be flying by the next General Election.
    Our only hope of reviving The UK labour Party is to vote out every Neoliberal Party Tory MP/Candidate no matter what/how/who. Vote In every Democratic Socialist MP/Candidate even if they are CURRENTLY independent once The UK Labour Party is revived and all the Neolabour Party Tory MP Parasites Purged things will look pretty good, no matter how small the Party after the ‘Great Neoliberal Purge’. We are the voters we have the control and we can ensure a Powerful Democratic Socialist Opposition Party ready and waiting to take the next GE.
    It is that or we hope that the 10/15 UK Labour Party MPs leave and form a New Parasite Free Party and Union. Please look at who you are voting for, and Wikipedia is not the place to get truth about these people!
    Also keep on mind:
    The UK Labour Party = Democratic Socialist = For The People.
    The Neolabour Party = Thatcherite Neoliberals = For The Machine/Elites/Establishment.
    That is Two Polar Opposite Political Factions/Ideologies/Parties!
    NOT the Left/Right of the same party now they can call themselves Left/Socialist, all they like on Wikipedia, but we know the truth, we know what Democratic Socialists behave like and we know what Democratic Socialists do not behave like!
    In just one weekend:
    Going to a Homophobic Nigerian Gospel Church, ‘just to try and butter up’ the Black, Asian, Arab, Traveller MPs/Members who have been completely blanked and ignored over Very Serious Racist Abuse, since 2015, is NOT Left, is NOT Socialist!
    Handing out leaflets calling for the Genocide of Our Travellers/Gypsies/Romany, then making the pathetic excuse that the leaflet that you designed and proofed for print contained a word you did not understand and especially being a Jew “who’s Grandad fought in WW2” and to have the audacity to label yourself as “Left Leaning” while calling for people’s heads to be kicked in for an Antisemitic incident, but never mind the Traveller’s heh!? Well that is NOT Left, is NOT Socialist!

  12. Steve H: Before the 19GE the membership was down to about 440,000.
    Where did this figure come from – hearsay or do you have a primary source evidence if so link please

    1. “The statistics of the Labour electorate for the 2020 leadership contest show that of 784,151 people eligible to participate, 490,731 voted – 62.6%. 114,000 new members had joined since December 2019, plus 13,626 in the registered supporters section who paid £25 for the privilege of voting. Starmer won 56% of full member and 78.6% of registered supporter votes.
      https://labourlist.org/2020/04/labour-is-a-soft-left-party-the-2020-leadership-elections-prove-it/

      1. That’s an interesting laboulist article SteveH. The first paragraph gives its authors’ flimsy categorisation and meaningless analysis. away tho. They talk about membership forming three groups; Blairites, Corbynites and the soft left. Soft left to the authors seems to mean not a Blairite or Corbynista. I’m strugling to see tht as in anyway helpful. Reads more like a vaccuus PR piece

  13. What a bunch of useless dummies. No one who wants to gain power using dirty money or trying to garner support from the media has a chance in hell of making meaningful change

  14. Something I think we should also not forget, is the brazen disregard for people and the Labour membership, which was highlighted by Mandelson himself when he said that Starmer should carry on with the wrought of the left, “because they have no where else to go”!

    What that meant was what he and others think, is that the right have an inbuilt majority that can’t be overturned, so whether we like it or not we will put up with it as we have done over the decades.

    More than ever though it falls to the left to stand their ground and not run away, allowing them a free hand to carry on ultimately destroying the only vehicle the left has ever had to challenge power.

    Socialism works, it’s just that people are not told about it, when politics and the mass media are dominated by Neo-Liberal forces within and outside the Labour Party.

    Jeremy Corbyn’s close call in 2017 proved that some people had woken up to the world around them, what we need is a resurgence of that messaging, which won’t come from Starmer and his cohort.

    1. As much as I like Trickett, little bit of a personal trust issue for me he is a bit of a wide boy like Lavery but, personal feelings aside, apart from that though, what did 2015 to 2020 show us.
      JC with 20% PLP support still had very little control over the Party.
      Trickett or Lavery will have to try with only ~5% PLP, it would another impossible task and another opportunity for the Neoliberal Neolabour Party Tories to besmirch The Democratic Socialist UK Labour Party MPs.
      Democratic Socialists can do one of 2 things at this stage.
      1. Vote out every Neolabour Party Tory, ruthlessly and aggressively no matter who/what.
      2. Leave.
      Both will leave us with a very small Party, but without the Neolabour Party Tories’ relentless Internal Sabotage, Smear, Lies, MSM feed, etc, etc and a massive Membership, we will be big at the following GE.
      If we keep Brand Worshipping “Labour” instead of focusing on getting a Democratic Socialist Party in Nr10 we will just end up with another 41 years of Thatcherite Neoliberal Hell on NO Democratic Socialist Representation for The People.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: