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Labour ‘does not want summer leadership battle’

4Jeremy Corbyn’s allies seized on the news that Theresa May was set to become Prime Minister to declare that Labour does not want a summer leadership battle.

Shortly after Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the Conservative Party leadership race, a source close to Corbyn said: “If May is installed, then this makes a Labour summer leadership campaign a luxury the party cannot afford.”

Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s Election Co-ordinator, said: “It now looks likely that we are about to have the coronation of a new Conservative Prime Minister.

“It is crucial, given the instability caused by the Brexit vote,  that the country has a democratically elected Prime Minister.

“I am now putting the whole of the party on a General Election footing.

“It is time for the Labour Party to unite and ensure the millions of people in the country left behind by the Tories’ failed economic policies, have the opportunity to elect a Labour government”.

Andrea Leadsom quit the race hours after Angela Eagle challenged Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour party.

In a speech in London, the former shadow cabinet minister said that she would be able to “bring our party together again”.

Her announcement is set to trigger civil war within the party.

Ms Eagle’s leadership bid came hours after 172 Labour MPs indicated that they had no confidence in Mr Corbyn in a vote in which he garnered the support of just 40 Westminster colleagues.

Graham Brady, the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee and returning officer of the leadership contest, this afternoon declared the battle for the Tory leadership was over bar the formalities.

The decision means 150,000 Tory grassroots members will not have a say in the choice of their new leader.

However, the lack of a vote of the members will increase pressure on Mrs May to call a snap general election this year or next to obtain a mandate from the country.

The Home Secretary came a clear top in the MPs’ ballot last week with 199 votes to her rival’s 84.

A Tory source told the Standard that when one of the final two in a Tory leadership contest drops out, it is down to the party’s ruling board to take the next steps.

With just one contender left in the race, that individual would normally be named leader by the board with the membership no longer playing a part.