Sebastian Payne

Liz Kendall says farewell to frontline politics (for now)

Liz Kendall has all but admitted she is not going to be the next Labour leader. At a speech in Westminster this morning, the shadow care minister spoke about the future of the party and referenced ‘whatever happens on Saturday’ — but she was no longer talking about her plans as leader. Kendall urged Labour to stick together after the new leader is elected, specifically if Jeremy Corbyn wins:

‘First, everyone must – and I believe will – accept the result and mandate of the new Leader. They will have won the right to pursue their agenda and must be given the space and scope to do so. If Jeremy Corbyn wins, it would be a huge mistake not to accept that result as legitimate. The voters will have made their decision and the rest of us must accept it as such.

‘Second, whoever is elected must recognise no leader has a mandate for untrammelled power. Anyone who seeks to exacerbate divisions will only store up trouble for the future.’

But Kendall couldn’t help but make a final attack on Corbyn, urging modernisers not to give up the fight:

‘The programme Jeremy Corbyn offers is not new. His policies and politics are the same now as they were in the 1980s – and will end up delivering the same result. 

‘Neither is he the sole keeper of Labour’s principles. No-one has a monopoly on being led by their conscience.But modernisers must be honest with ourselves: many people who’ve joined our party in recent months do not believe we are offering change, and some of them doubt our principles altogether.’

Kendall reiterated that she wouldn’t serve under Corbyn because she has ‘too many important differences with him’ and urged the party to ‘quickly turn our focus to campaigning in next year’s crucial elections’.

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