The GMB union has backed Lisa Nandy in the Labour leadership contest.
The union’s 60-strong Central Executive Council nominated the Wigan MP alongside Angela Rayner for Deputy Leader following a hustings in London earlier today.
General secretary Tim Roache said: “Lisa Nandy is a breath of fresh air in the debate over Labour’s future.
“The more members see of Lisa in this contest the more impressed they will be by her ambition, optimism and decisive leadership. GMB is proud to nominate her.
BREAKING: GMB is nominating Lisa Nandy for Labour Leader and Angela Rayner for Deputy Leader.
SHARE THE NEWS 👇 https://t.co/qdUt8VNO3c
— GMB UNION (@GMB_union) January 21, 2020
“Lisa won’t shy away from the tough challenges or bold decisions that lie ahead, because she knows that after fifteen years of losing elections, more of the same won’t cut it.
“A candidate entrenched in the union movement, Lisa gets the scale of the challenge.
“She will raise Labour’s game with a bold agenda that puts people first and grounds politics in their lives.”
The GMB is Labour’s third biggest union, and joins the National Union of Miners in supporting Ms Nandy. She needs just one more endorsement to reach the final stage of the contest.
Welcoming the backing Ms Nandy said: Lisa Nandy said: “Labour is at a crossroads.
“To win again we will have to up our game, recover our ambition, and inspire a movement.
“The GMB, the biggest industrial union which speaks for more than half a million workers, has been offering that leadership time and time again in recent years.
“As I seek permission to lead us back to power as Labour’s next Prime Minister I could not be more proud to have their support.”
It means the contest is no longer the two-horse race between Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey that had been expected.
Candidates need the nominations of three Labour affiliates, including at least two unions, which amount to at least 5% of affiliate members.
Mr Starmer has the backing of Unison, Usdaw and Sera. Ms Long-Bailey has the backing of the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union as well as grassroots organisation Momentum.
She is the favourite to receive the backing of the Unite union and the Communication Workers Union.
Unite, led by Len McCluskey, announce their choice for leader and deputy leader on Friday.
The only other route on to the ballot paper is by receiving nominations from at least 33 constituency Labour parties (CLPs).
The contenders will take part in a televised debate on February 17.
The hour-long Channel 4 programme will be hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, with the audience asking questions.
The ballot for the leadership opens on February 21 and closes on April 2, with the results announced on April 4.
The number of candidates vying to be the next party leader was cut to four earlier today as Jess Phillips dropped out.
I'm sorry to see Jess drop out. She has made waves, shown great friendship and I’ll miss her in this contest.
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) January 21, 2020
Announcing her decision in a video message, Ms Phillips said: “I truly believe that unless we talk to the country on their terms, not just on ours, that we won’t be able to make the gains we need to win an election – and (to) do what everyone in the Labour movement wants to do, and that is make people’s lives better.
“In order to do that, the Labour Party will need to select a candidate that can unite all parts of our movement – the union movement, the members and elected representatives – I have to be honest that at this time, that person isn’t me.
“In order to win the country, we are going to have to find a candidate in this race who can do that and take that message out to the country of hope and change for things to be better.”