McDonnell’s nominations fall short

Gordon Brown may yet be appointed Labour leader unopposed, as his only challenger struggles to gain sufficient support to make it onto the ballot paper.

As of Tuesday evening, the backbench MP John McDonnell had received just 27 nominations, leaving him 18 short of the necessary 45.

With just 45 MPs left to nominate, Mr McDonnell will spend Wednesday attempting to persuade potential backers to support his candidacy.

He has called on MPs to support his nomination even if they do not necessarily agree with his platform, in order to ensure a democratic leadership contest.

Mr McDonnell insisted he was undaunted by the chancellor’s 282 backers, insisting he had made “really good progress.”

He said: “It’s not even half-time yet and we’re over half-way in terms of nominations with some MPs out of the country and others finalising their position.

“This confirms that we’re well on course for getting on the ballot paper and with this momentum we should make it.”

Mr McDonnell’s supporters include Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn, Dennis Skinner and Ann Cryer.

The published nominations also show Hilary Benn is struggling to gain enough nominations, with just 34. The international development secretary had been considered a favourite for the deputy leadership.

The remaining candidates for the deputy position are guaranteed a place on the ballot. Hazel Blears has 48 nominations, Jon Cruddas, 44, Peter Hain, 49, Harriet Harman, 60 and Alan Johnson 64.

Mr Brown is yet to nominate a candidate for the deputy position and it has been speculated his camp will rally around Mr Benn.