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Long-Bailey progresses onto final round

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Rebecca Long-Bailey has the firm backing of all the major unions

Labour leadership candidate, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has secured a place in the final ballot and is now expected to begin her bid for the top job in earnest.

She made it through to the final round after receiving an endorsement from the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), one of the largest in the country.

The FBU also endorsed Richard Burgon, the shadow Secretary of State for Justice and shadow Lord Chancellor, and MP for the Leeds East constituency, to run as Long-Bailey’s deputy.

Long-Bailey is the third Labour leadership candidate to make it onto the final ballot, alongside rivals Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy.

A fourth candidate, the shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Emily Thornberry, is struggling to make it to the final round and may drop out within a week.

Long-Baily is widely considered to be the favourite to replace outgoing leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The FBU endorsement reinforces the shadow business secretary’s leadership credentials, not least because the unions are still regarded as the main pillar of the Labour party.

The FBU general secretary, Matt Wrack, said Long-Bailey “has what it takes to transform the country, win back Labour's heartlands, and put power back in the hands of working class people".

"There can be no going back to the so-called centrism of New Labour - we never again want to see our party turn its back on workers, public ownership, and its own members", Wrack added in a combative statement.

For her part, Long-Bailey re-affirmed her allegiance to the authentic left-wing faction of the Labour party by proclaiming that the union [FBU] "embodies the values of our movement".

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