LONDON — Labour MP Yvette Cooper will “100%” launch a campaign to become the party’s next leader after the June general election, Business Insider has been told.
Allies of the former cabinet minister have been briefing that Cooper intends to stand for the Labour leadership later this year, assuming the party suffers defeat in the forthcoming general election as widely predicted.
“Yvette is 100% going for leader,” one ally of Cooper told friends this week, adding that lines on why the MP for Pontefract and Castleford only came third in the 2015 leadership contest have already been put together.
Cooper stood for the leadership two years ago after Ed Miliband stood down but finished third on 17% behind runner-up Andy Burnham and victor and current leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Allies of Cooper are set to claim that the timing of the MP’s last leadership challenge damaged her chances of success as it coincided with her husband Ed Balls losing his seat in the election that took place just weeks before.
“She only came third because it was a very rough time. It was the toughest time in her life — her husband had just lost his seat,” is a paraphrased version of one of the lines Cooper’s campaign team is preparing to use.
Business Insider has contacted Cooper’s office for comment but is yet to receive a response.
Cooper has impressed her parliamentary colleagues in recent weeks and now finds herself in a strong position to challenge for leadership should Corbyn decide to resign following the result of the June 8 election.
The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush reported on Wednesday that support for her in the Parliamentary Labour Party has been growing. “She has really decided to go for it now, and having had the last time to think about what she stands for, will be a much better candidate,” a former cabinet minister told Bush.
The former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has recently caught the eye with impressive displays in the Commons. The most recent example took place on Wednesday when Cooper grilled Prime Minister Theresa May on her alleged record of broken promises during the debate on whether a snap general election should take place.
“She wants us to believe that she is a woman of her word. Isn’t the truth that we cannot believe a single word she says?” Cooper told MPs.
Under current rules, any Labour leadership hopeful must receive the backing of 15% of the party’s MPs and MEPs in order to stand in a leadership contest. The party’s September conference will vote on a proposed measure to reduce the threshold to 5% and in theory, make it easier for figures on the left of the party to run for the leadership.
However, party moderates are confident of defeating the motion and talk of trying to bring back the electoral college system is underway. This system would make it very difficult for a hard-left figure to be elected leader.
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