Chuka Umunna Declares Intention To Run For Labour Leadership In UK

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Chuka Umunna has confirmed he will run for the leadership of the Labour party, pitching himself as a Blairite candidate.
The shadow business secretary is the second person to say he will run, following Liz Kendall the shadow social care minister.
Mr Umunna has said he wanted to build a “big tent” of people from different backgrounds, races, religions and economic circumstances.
He published a Facebook video on Tuesday claiming the Labour party could return to power by the next general election under the right leadership. The video was shot in Swindon, the Wiltshire town where the Conservatives launched their election manifesto and which elected two of the party’s MPs in last week’s general election.
“I think we can and we should be winning in seats like Swindon,” he said.
Mr Umunna began his political career as a member of Compass, a leftwing pressure group.
But the privately educated former City lawyer has since shifted to a more Blairite position, eschewing former leader Ed Miliband’s rhetoric that businesses could be divided into predators and producers.
As shadow business secretary, Mr Umunna has spent the past few years trying to mend bridges with business even as his leader was — in the view of some executives — setting fire to them.
Despite having a limited number of allies among Labour MPs, he should be able to reach the requisite 35 — 15 per cent — to reach the ballot
“Some have actually suggested over the past few days that somehow this is now a 10-year project to get the Labour party back in office,” he said. “I don’t think we can have any truck with that at all, I think the Labour party can do it in five years.”
Mr Umunna, the bookmakers’ favourite for the top job, was the first former shadow cabinet member to criticise Labour’s election campaign after the event.
In an interview on Sunday he said: “We cannot have a message that anybody is too rich or too poor to be a part of our party.” He also admitted Labour was wrong to run a deficit in advance of the financial crisis.
In recent days several Blairite figures, including Lord Mandelson, have made the case for Labour to return to the centre ground.
Lord Mandelson came close to backing Mr Umunna, saying: “He’s got a bit of a way to go but will get there.”
But Harriet Harman, acting leader, has called for an end to blame and scapegoating and launched a “fact-finding” mission into what went wrong.
Other likely candidates include Andy Burnham, shadow health secretary, who is expected to win the backing of the unions.
Tristram Hunt, shadow education secretary, and Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, are also expected to run.
Dan Jarvis, another Labour MP, ruled himself out of the race on Monday.
Labour’s national executive committee will meet this week to thrash out the rules of the contest while the unions are racing to sign up “affiliated supporters” who can take part in the voting.
Meanwhile, the repercussions of the party’s defeat continued to reverberate in Scotland, where it lost all but one of its 40 seats.
Alex Rowley, a member of the Scottish Parliament, stepped down as the party’s spokesman on local government in Holyrood in protest at Jim Murphy’s continuation as Labour leader in Scotland.
“We in Scotland need a strong relevant Labour party and we will not achieve this under your leadership,” he wrote in a letter to Mr Murphy.

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