Clueless on the deputy Labour leadership contest? Here's the lowdown before the showdown

Who are the candidates and what do they stand for?

While Labour’s leadership race is generating miles worth of column inches across the UK, the race to become deputy leader has scarcely made headlines.

Labour’s selection for deputy will be a fascinating part of the party’s new leadership in September.

If Jeremy Corbyn wins, as most polls and all the major bookies are currently expecting, then will the new deputy be able to work alongside him?

Tom Watson is the current favourite to win according to recent polls, but having a male-dominated leadership will call into question the party’s commitment to gender equality.

Here’s a look at the five candidates in the race:

Stella Creasy

Stella Creasy

Creasy has been MP for Walthamstow since 2010, and had previously been Waltham Forest’s mayor in the months before her election to parliament. She returned to parliament in 2015 having significantly increased her majority, with a 17% increase in her share of the vote.

Creasy has said that she would be happy to work with Corbyn, or any of the other candidates.

Her voting record shows that she supports replacing the UK’s nuclear weapons arsenal, has voted consistently for gay rights, and she has never rebelled against the party.


Ben Bradshaw

Ben Bradshaw

It’s a longshot for Bradshaw, who is currently lingering near the bottom of the polls, but he has plenty of experience, serving as a minister in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s governments.

He was elected to parliament for Exeter in 1997, and in 2002 became deputy leader of the House of Commons. His subsequent posts were as minister for the south west, minister for health, and minister for Culture, Media and Sport.

In 2009, Bradshaw won the Stonewall politician of the year award for his work on gay rights. In 2006 Bradshaw was also one of the first gay MPs to enter a civil partnership.

Bradshaw has said he would support Corbyn, though he doesn’t seem that keen on him, and praised Gordon Brown’s recent speech which was read by many as a thinly disguised attack on Corbyn.

Their ideas on war may clash with Corbyn’s too, as Bradshaw voted for the 2005 war in Iraq, and would like to see Trident replaced.


Caroline Flint

Caroline Flint

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint has served in a number of positions in the government since she was elected in 1997, including minister of state for Public Health, minister of state for Employment and minister of state for Europe. She’s currently shadow secretary of state for Energy and Climate Change.

Her voting record is largely in line with other Labour MPs, though she voted for university tuition fees and voted against greater regulation for gambling.

She came in second in terms of MP nominations and is considered one of the front runners of the deputy leadership contest.


Angela Eagle

Angela Eagle

She’s been MP for Wallasey since 1992, making Angela Eagle the most experienced politician in the deputy leadership race.

Eagle has served in the Treasury and as minister of state at the Department for Work and Pensions and as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury. She’s currently the shadow leader of the House of Commons.

She’s well-known for criticising Gary Barlow for tax avoidance, telling the Commons the singer had “given a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Take That’”.

Eagle came out as the first openly lesbian MP in 1997 and was the first openly gay cabinet member.

She has a twin sister Maria Eagle who is also a Labour MP.


Tom Watson

Tom Watson MP

The frontrunner at this stage, West Bromwich East MP Tom Watson is popular both inside and outside the party and has been in parliament since 2001.

During the last Labour government he served as minister for Digital Economy and maintains an interest in this subject, frequently speaking on privacy and campaigning against his own government’s Digital Economy Act 2010 which aimed to tackle online copyright infringement.

He’s also well known for campaigning against phone hacking and co-wrote a book on the subject.



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