Last week Mary Creagh, a candidate for Labour leadership, has announced that she is stepping down. At the time of this announcement Creagh reportedly had just over 10 of the 35 nominations needed from other MP’s in order to be put on the ballot for the vote. This struggle to receive nominations is perhaps the main reason Creagh has chosen to step down.
However, another reason for this sudden reversal may have been that Creagh was viewed as a very similar candidate to Liz Kendall, a more popular though less experienced candidate, and this similarity was even brought up on Creagh’s interview on the BBC programme “Newsnight”. Incidentally, this “Newsnight” interview has been labelled by many as catastrophic for her bid in the leadership race as she failed to answer to a number of questions with clear answers and appeared less composed than other candidates who had been interviewed on the same programme.
Creagh had a respectable profile coming into the race for the Labour leadership; she has been an MP for Wakefield since 2005 and a member of the Shadow Cabinet since 2010 where she had roles as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and more recently as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development.
During her campaign for the nominations for Labour leadership, Creagh advocated the view that hope, compassion and economic competence can go hand in hand. As is the Labour party line, she is also an advocate of remaining in the EU as part of her economic policy. Furthermore, Creagh also pushes a view towards a greener economy.
Creagh has clearly stated that she will not say who she will be supporting, if anyone at all. In an interview after stepping down she made an attack on Ed Miliband’s economic policy in particular. Creagh argues that the May 2015 election campaign of the Labour Party was inherently anti-business. On a similar point, she further argued that there is a conflicting standard apparent; that although the labour party stands for the working class, it will not support those who decide to build up their own small businesses. Creagh pointed out that there was a distinct lack of belief among the voting population that the Labour party could be trusted with the economy and this would have to addressed by whoever the next Labour leader will be. Worth noting is that a move towards the model that Germany is currently using was suggested. One thing to take away from this about Creagh is it appears that, unlike many past Labour MP’s and perhaps the same can be said of many politicians of different stripes, she exhibits an awareness of her party’s failings and does not appear reluctant to admit the mistakes made, indeed, she is advocating moves which would in theory address these problems to connect more with the electorate.
Nonetheless, which Creagh’s withdrawal, this leaves Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn on the ballot for Labour leadership. Burnham won the largest amount of nominations from the MP’s with Cooper a close second; both Kendall and Corbyn were a little further behind. This plays little outcome in the election results, however, with any of the four with a chance of becoming the next Labour leader.