Dawn Butler first major candidate to replace Tom Watson as Labour Deputy Leader


  Dawn Butler is the first major candidate to announce she wants replace Tom Watson as Labour Deputy Leader after he sensationally quit on  Tom Watson announced on Wednesday evening that he was stepping down as an MP and quitting frontline politics after 30 years   In contrast with Mr Watson, Dawn Butler has been a loyal ally to her fellow London MP Jeremy Corbyn  Speaking to Bloomberg TV, Ms Butler said: “I’ve thought very carefully about who should replace Tom and after giving it some thought, I will be throwing my hat in the ring ”  The 50-year-old Londoner is looking to position herself as pro-Corbyn and a voice for minority groups at the top of the party in the upcoming deputy leadership contest    “I think I’ve got a track record of countering, holding people to account around race, equality and justice,” she said  “I’ve got a track record of being very supportive to our leader Jeremy Corbyn and ensuring the Labour Party is on the front foot  “There are structural barriers that hold people back. I want to as deputy leader change all of that, change the way the country is currently developing, change the way we’re seeing hate overcome hope, change the script on all of that ”  She sparked controversy at last year’s Labour conference when she praised the former Militant-led Liverpool council in the 1980s for setting budgets in excess of the limits imposed by Westminster  Ms Butler told delegates it was “better to break the law than break the poor”.    Other possible candidates include Laura Pidcock, shadow employment rights secretary, is tipped to get the backing of major union Unite and would be a popular figure for the left of the party  While Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary, has been repeatedly put forward by the leadership including shadow chancellor John McDonnell  Ms Long-Bailey has been mentioned publicly as a potential future leader and the high-profile figure revealed a slick video and personal logo on social media this week, a move interpreted internally as an early leadership bid  There is speculation that other high profile politicians such as shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry may swerve the race to concentrate on going for the leadership when Jeremy Corbyn stands down  Yesterday Mr Corbyn said that would be in the “long distant future” but it is widely agreed he will have to go if Labour do badly at the election and Shadow chancellor and ally John McDonnell has repeatedly insisted that the next Labour leader should be a woman  Under Mr Watson the deputy leadership had been one of the last internal strongholds not controlled by the leadership  Mr Watson survived an attempt to oust him at the Labour party conference earlier this year by abolishing the post of deputy leader  But it was not the first attempt to oust him.  Plans to create two deputies with one reserved for a woman were mooted as a way of diluting his power but eventually shelved  In his resignation letter he said: “Now is the right time for me to stand down from national politics  “The disagreements we have had inside the party are well-known; now is not the time to rehearse them again ”  The New Statesman reported that backbench MP Conor McGinn was also planning to stand

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