Rebecca Long-Bailey is one of the last three remaining candidates left in the Labour leadership contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn at the helm of the party. Despite rejecting the label of “continuity candidate” in the early stages of the contest, Ms Long-Bailey has repeatedly highlighted the strong connection she has with Mr Corbyn and had the interim leader feature in a campaign video to discuss her manifesto. And speaking to BBC Radio 4 Live Politics on Sunday, the Salford and Eccles MP failed to rule out offering her former boss a top spot in the shadow Cabinet should she win the contest next month.
After Jeremy Corbyn last week stated he would like to stay on as shadow Foreign Minister, BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler asked: “He says he’d like to be shadow Foreign Secretary once the new leader of Labour has been decided. Would you give him the job?”
Ms Long-Bailey said: “I haven’t had the chat with Jeremy over jobs. Or indeed anybody else for that matter.
“I just want to win this campaign and build a broad and diverse shadow Cabinet that represents all of the political aspects within the Labour Party to make sure we’re robust and diverse enough to appeal to our communities.”
Despite claiming she has yet to pick up prospective members of her Cabinet, Ms Long-Bailey earlier last month confirmed she would offer a job to fellow contestants Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy should she secure the leadership of the party.
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During the programme, Ms Long-Bailey also dismissed claims she already lost the contest after Sir Keir emerged as the frontrunner in the latest Labour challenge voting intention poll.
The shadow Business Secretary said: “It’s certainly not over until April 4 and all our members have voted.”
A Sky News survey of 1,323 Labour Party members and other eligible voters found 53 percent of respondents would give their first preference vote to Keir Starmer in contrast to only 31 percent backing Rebecca Long-Bailey.
The poll, conducted between February 20 and 25, also found 16 percent of those polled would vote for Wigan MP Lisa Nandy.
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Former leader Jeremy Corbyn was forced to step down after Labour suffered a devastating defeat at the polls in December, losing 60 seats and witnessing traditional red seats switch to blue for the first time in history.
Mr Corbyn did not officially endorse any of the candidates but last week appeared with Ms Long-Bailey in a campaign video the Salford and Eccles MP shared on her personal social media platforms.
And speaking to the Islington Gazette, Mr Corbyn admitted he would not be averse to staying on in the shadow Cabinet by taking over current shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.
Asked about which role he would like to cover, he said: “I think foreign policy actually because I have spent my life on human rights justice and environmental justice issues.”
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The Labour leadership contest ballot opened this week meaning that any Labour Party member, affiliated trade union and socialist society who joined before January 20 will be eligible to vote.
Votes are cast on a one member one vote basis and they fill in a preferential ballot meaning they rank the contenders in order of preference.
The ballot closes on April 2 and if one person wins 50 percent or more, they become the outright winner.
The names of the new leader and deputy leader will be announced on April 4 at a special party conference.
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