Following last week’s disastrous UK General Election which saw the Labour Party post a 9% decline in constituency seats to 232 (2010 Election: 256). The left-wing political party must now tackle the critical choice of who will be its leader following the departure of Ed Miliband.
Less than a week since the conclusion of the UK General Election (7 May), bookmakers have set out their betting markets early on who will become the next Labour Party leader.
At present, bookmakers appear to indicate that the Labour Party leadership will be a three-horse race between Chuka Umunna, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper. The three potential candidates have surprised the UK political commentators, as they offer distinct and unique characteristics which the party is said to be in dire need of.
Streatham (London) MP and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna who at present leads the early markets at 6/4, appears to be a popular candidate with the party’s former hierarchy. Umunna (36) has been praised by former Labour PM Tony Blair and appears to have the backing of New Labour strategist Peter Mandelson.
However UK commentators have questioned Umunna’s political experience as a relative new comer to the party (active since 2010), and furthermore the candidates leadership temperament as Umunna has been ‘caught out’ several times on TV debates for his lack of knowledge on key UK economic issues. Umunna has been further criticised for his lack of working experience outside of politics, prior to working for the party Umunna served as employment solicitor at Ashfords LLP and as an Urban Music DJ.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham is a close second favourite at 9/4. Burnham has enhanced his reputation amongst the party by leading the re-opening of the inquiry into the Hillsborough football disaster in 2010. Burnham has fought hard against the Conservative Party on NHS issues, a key agenda for Labour, which has seen him championed as the candidate for Labour ‘grass-root’ policies.
Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper (11/2) the wife of former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has been presented as a sharp political operator who has built a reputation as a safe pair of hands in a succession of ministerial and opposition jobs. Cooper would further please Labour campaigners as the party’s first female leader, following the success of SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon in gaining Key Labour constituencies seats in Scotland.
Although Burnham and Cooper appear to be experienced candidates for leadership, following last week’s dreadful results, several UK commentators have stated that the party should look to ditch its ‘old guard’.
Ed Miliband’s brother David Miliband, who in 2010 was the party’s favourite to win leadership has been placed as an outside candidate, with the majority of bookmakers placing him at 33/1