Phillips drops out as Nandy receives boost in Labour leadership race

Phillips drops out as Nandy receives boost in Labour leadership race

Phillips missed the private GMB trade union hustings on Tuesday morning, citing a prior engagement that clashed with the event and that she said was "impossible" to change.

Sir Keir Starmer has become the first Labour leadership candidate to get his name on the competition's final ballot, after another union came out in support of him.

The BBC's political correspondent Iain Watson said Ms Phillips, who has always been an outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, could still have an influence on the contest if she chose to endorse another candidate.

Her now former rivals Ms Nandy and Ms Thornberry praised her contribution.

"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", she said.

"Although she can't build the broad coalition needed to rebuild the Labour Party now, she's recruited thousands upon thousands of new members, amplified the voices of the voters and will play a big role in Labour's future".

She already has the support of the National Union of Mineworkers and will have to seek a further endorsement by a socialist society.

Media captionWho decides on the next Labour leader?

To do so they must win the nominations of 33 local constituency parties or three Labour affiliates, including at least two trade unions.

She said: "Labour is at a crossroads".

Rebecca Long-Bailey is also expected to make the final ballot.

But the three other candidates are facing an uphill battle amid fears the two front runners will secure the majority of the available union and constituency Labour party support.

Sir Keir cleared this hurdle after being backed by Unison, the UK's largest union, and a second union, Usdaw, as well as environmental campaign group Sera.

"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", Mr Roache said.

Last week, Ms Long Bailey received the backing of Momentum and the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers' Union, which also nominated shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon for deputy leader.

The leadership challenge was launched after Jeremy Corbyn announced he would not be fighting another general election after his party suffered one of its worst performances in modern history.

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