UK Politics

John Healey enters Labour deputy leader race

John Healey, Labour MP Image copyright PA

John Healey, the former Labour housing minister, has announced he is running to be deputy leader of the party.

The MP for Wentworth and Dearne said he had not originally intended to stand but was "dismayed at how narrow and shallow the debate has been so far".

He becomes the seventh candidate, meaning at least one or two of those already declared will lack enough MPs' support to make the ballot paper.

But Mr Healey said he was confident of gaining enough support.

Also standing are Rushanara Ali, Ben Bradshaw, Angela Eagle, Stella Creasy, Caroline Flint and Tom Watson.

'Re-establishing Labour'

Writing in the Guardian, Mr Healey said: "I know I'm a late entrant when others have been up and running for some time. But the scale of the defeat, the complexity of the lessons and the huge task of holding things together while we rebuild requires a unifier - someone who can work across the political breadth of the party and with the unions."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Healey (far R) spent four years at the Treasury during the last Labour government

He added: "Our new leader must be able to give their total attention to establishing themselves and re-establishing Labour with the country.

"Labour's internal affairs have to be left largely to others but their deputy must be much more than a party manager and motivator."

Mr Healey spent four years at the Treasury under Gordon Brown and was also a housing minister before becoming shadow health secretary for a year from October 2010.

He said he had been encouraged by colleagues to add his name to an already-crowded field.

To be on the ballot each candidate needs nomination from 35 MPs, but with only 232 Labour MPs in total, not all seven of those currently standing will reach that target.

Mr Healey has already nominated Yvette Cooper for the party leadership.

She is running alongside Andy Burnham, Mary Creagh and Liz Kendall.

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