The shadow business secretary, who launched her leadership campaign in Manchester on Friday evening, was welcomed on stage by Jeremy Corbyn‘s supporter singing “Oh Rebecca Long-Bailey”. Ms Long-Bailey took the stage smiling and pleased for the warm welcome received. She joked: “Hey guys, you’re going to have to think of a new song, you know? No pressure!”
Ms Long-Bailey, believed to be the continuity candidate, scored a significant boost in her quest to lead the party after securing the backing of the Momentum campaign group on Thursday.
The party front-bencher promised to end the “gentlemen’s club of politics” by devolving power out of Westminster, while pledging to introduce a “Green New Deal” that unites Labour heartlands.
“Where I grew up, Westminster, even London, felt like a million miles away,” she said.
“The story of the last few years is that many people feel there is something wrong with their laws being drafted hundreds of miles away by a distant and largely unaccountable bureaucratic elite in Brussels.
“But I’ll be honest, Westminster didn’t feel much closer, and it still doesn’t today.
“That’s why I want to shake up the way Government works and deliver a clear message to voters: we will put power where it belongs – in your hands.
“The British state needs a seismic shock, to prise it open at all levels to the people – their knowledge, their skills, their demands.”
Though the result was not unexpected, the left-winger will now be boosted by the campaigning firepower of the group, which has long supported the outgoing leader.
“And in the two years I shadowed Boris Johnson as foreign secretary, I showed him up every time for the lying, reckless charlatan that he is.”
The two frontbenchers are up against shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer, Wigan MP Lisa Nandy and Birmingham Yardley’s Jess Phillips in the contest, the result of which will be announced on April 4.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner was also endorsed as deputy leader following the confirmatory ballot of Momentum members.
Meanwhile, the party said that around 14,700 people applied to register as temporary Labour supporters to vote in the leadership contest.
The 48-hour window to apply to be a temporary supporter closed at 5pm on Thursday, and applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be able to vote in the leader and deputy leader elections.