Who is Jeremy Corbyn (and the other Labour contenders)?

By Greg Dawson
Newsbeat politics reporter

  • Published

They're applying for what some call "the toughest job in British politics" - the leader of the opposition.

After months of debating, ballot forms are finally being sent to voters to choose the new leader of the Labour Party to replace Ed Miliband, who stood down after the general election defeat.

The contenders are Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

Thousands of people including Labour MPs, party members and "affiliated supporters" can vote.

The winner will be announced on 12 September.

Here's a handy guide to the four people hoping to take on the Tories and eventually become prime minister in 2020.

Jeremy Corbyn

Image source, Getty Images

He's the man who's become the story of this leadership contest.

Jeremy Corbyn started out as the rank outsider but has become the runaway favourite for the job thanks, in part, to the support of young activists.

He's the most left-wing of the candidates and sharply divides opinion among Labour MPs.

Image source, Getty Images
  • He's been an MP since 1983 and at 66 is easily the oldest person in the contest. By the time the 2020 general election swings around he'll be a few days short of his 71st birthday.
  • He's against government spending cuts and says he'll protect public services and increase taxes for wealthy people.
  • He'd drastically change the party's position when it comes to foreign policy. He wants to scrap Britain's nuclear weapons programme.
  • He has promised to abolish tuition fees, reinstate the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and end the difference in payments in benefits for under-25s.
  • He's father to three sons and has separated from his wife.

Andy Burnham

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Andy Burnham likes his football

Before the surge of #Corbynmania, Andy Burnham was the early bookies favourite for the job. It's his second stab at trying to get the role after coming fourth in the 2010 leadership contest.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Andy campaigned on behalf of families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster
  • The 45-year-old was born in Liverpool and grew up in a village in Cheshire.
  • He's been an MP since 2001 with experience of government having served under Gordon Brown from 2007-2010.
  • He'd introduce a graduate tax to replace tuition fees and wants to scrap the "youth rate" of the National Minimum Wage.
  • He's into his sport: he was a fast bowler for Lancashire schoolboys cricket team and is a massive Everton fan.
  • His wife is Dutch and they have a son and two daughters.

Yvette Cooper

Image source, Getty Images

If the Labour Party is going to elect its first ever woman leader then Yvette Cooper is the favourite. Like Andy Burnham, she has experience of working in government having been appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury under Gordon Brown in 2008.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Yvette Cooper on a night out with husband and former shadow chancellor Ed Balls
  • She's 46 and has been an MP since Labour's landslide election win in 1997.
  • You might recognise her husband... Ed Balls was Labour's shadow chancellor but lost his seat in this year's general election.
  • She's also experienced success in US politics: she worked on Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential election campaign.
  • She says she wants to combat child poverty and promised to fight plans to limit future child tax credits to two children.
  • She has three children and was the first government minister to take maternity leave.

Liz Kendall

Image source, Getty Images

Along with Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall is another candidate who strongly divides opinion within the Labour Party. Some activists have accused of being a "Tory" because they believe her policies are too right-wing for the Labour Party.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Liz Kendall is a big fan of Dr Dre - he's yet to comment on who he's supporting in the contest
  • At 44, she's the youngest of the candidates and was only elected to parliament in 2010.
  • She agrees she is the "outside candidate" but says the party needs "a fresh start".
  • She plans to accept some government policies including welfare cuts, claiming Labour need to win back people who voted Conservative.
  • She's unmarried and doesn't have any kids but recently separated from comedian Greg Davies who starred in The Inbetweeners.
  • She's into her hip-hop and counts Dr Dre and Public Enemy among her favourite artists.

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