Voting closes in Labour leadership electionhttp://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/10/labour-leadership-liz-kendall-urges-party-accept-result-voting-closesLiz Kendall concedes that her campaign has failed and says Jeremy Corbyn has energised a party crying out for change
Voting for the next Labour leader closed at midday with the candidate expected to come fourth saying that the party must accept the legitimacy of the result.
Liz Kendall conceded that her campaign had failed and that Jeremy Corbyn – the man expected to be declared the winner on Saturday – had energised a party crying out for change.
Live Labour leadership: Corbyn tipped to win as voting closes - Politics live
Rolling coverage of all the day’s political developments as polling closes in the Labour leadership contest
Her speech marks the first of what is expected to be many frank self-assessments on the Blairite wing of the party. “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.”
Acknowledging the leftwing MP’s likely victory, she said Corybn’s campaign had “mobilised and enthused vast numbers of people in a way we haven’t seen for decades. The debate that’s exploded during this contest has been simmering for many years.”
Kendall said Labour had not had a proper debate about its values for too long, and conceded that her wing of the party had spent too long avoiding the subject. “The last time we really debated the purpose of our party and what we stand for, throughout the Labour movement, was the reform of clause IV – 20 years ago,” she added.
Some Labour members and supporters were also complaining online about failing to receive ballot papers right up until the deadline for voting. David Lammy, one of the six Labour London mayoral candidates, claimed in the New Statesman that almost one in five Labour members in the capital had not received a ballot paper.
Some party members were still receiving email links inviting them to vote with just hours to go.
The result of the leadership election is due to be declared at 11.30am on Saturday, at a short special conference due to be held in Westminster. The party’s London mayoral nomination will be declared on Friday, a result that may give a firmer indication of who is to win the party leadership.
In her speech Kendall added a rider saying “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. We must turn our focus to the public, and turn our fire onto the Tories - who are the real enemy – and not turn in on ourselves.”
She also hinted at the need for a major reorganisation on what had previously been the mainstream of the party, arguing that old divisions of the needed to be abandoned.
She said: “All of us who want a modern, electable and outward looking Labour party must end the old Blairite/Brownite splits, which are long past their sell-by date and should be buried once and for all.”
Speaking to her supporters she also confirmed her decision not to
serve on the frontbench if Corbyn wins, saying: “I have too many important differences with him, particularly on foreign policy and the economy. Leaving Nato or Europe would be a disaster for Britain in an increasingly risky and dangerous world”.
She set out her other key differences with Corbyn, saying: “Spending billions of pounds on renationalising swaths of the economy and reopening coal mines won’t create the high-skill, high-wage jobs of the future or convince people we can be trusted with their money.
“And his plans for so-called ‘people’s quantitative easing’ risk destabilising our currency and pushing up inflation, harming the living standards of millions of people in this country, particularly the poor and low paid.”