Labour frontbencher Richard Burgon’s mooted leadership bid has been mercilessly ridiculed before it even got the chance to get off the ground.
The shadow justice secretary, who is one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most trusted lieutenants, fuelled speculation he was poised to enter the race by today refusing to rule out throwing his hat into the ring.
His bid appeared to immediately gather momentum with the creation of a campaign page called Back Burgon.
At first, the account appeared to promote a genuine effort to elevate the left-wing ex-lawyer, but it quickly descended into farce by retweeting clearly sarcastic and mocking remarks.
Claiming ‘the Tories are worried’ about the prospect of a Burgon-led Labour party, they shared a post from a ‘supporter’ who was ‘willing to lay down my life for this cause’.
It came as the party’s big beasts began sounding out colleagues to assess the amount of support they could expect in a prospective leadership bid.
The devastating fallout of the election has re-ignited a raging identity battle at the heart of the Labour party.
Moderate MPs are gearing up to wrestle back control from the radical leftitst Momentum group and break the stranglehold they have on the party.
Labour frontbencher Richard Burgon’s mooted leadership bid has been mercilessly ridiculed before it even got the chance to get off the ground
His bid appeared to immediately gather momentum with the creation of a campaign page called Back Burgon
At first, the account appeared to promote a genuine effort to elevate the left-wing ex-lawyer, but it quickly descended into farce by retweeting clearly sarcastic and mocking remarks
But Mr Burgon today flatly denied the suggestion this would have fared the party better at the ballot box and said Labour should not pivot back towards the centre-ground
Blaming Brexit and bias media coverage, he said: ‘We need to fight back, not triangulate.
Labour’s runners and riders
Keir Starmer: 5/2
Rebecca Long Bailey: 4/1
Angela Rayner: 6/1
Jess Phillips: 6/1
Lisa Nandy: 8/1
Richard Burgon: 100/1
‘People on the doorstep weren’t complaining about our policies, and we wouldn’t have had the policies … if it weren’t for Jeremy’s leadership.’
In a later interview, he would not be drawn on his leadership ambitions, which sparked the social media ‘grassroots campaign to elect Richard Burgon as the next leader of the Labour Party’.
Seemingly confirming the account as a parody, Back Burgon later tweeted: ‘We are a team of dedicated ex-momentum staff members, and we have a secret backer who we’ll announce in due course.’
Throughout the election campaign, Mr Burgon was a frequent media performer for Labour, stepping up to represent Mr Corbyn in the seven-way ITV debate.
Yet he has never been touted as a serious leadership challenger, prompting surprise when he today refused to be pressed on his ambitions.
The Back Burgon account even superimposed the Labour politician’s head on to a picture of cartoon character Homer Simpson sprinting with the caption: ‘He’s running’
Hilarious posts mocking Mr Burgon flooded social media this afternoon following his mooted bid
Westminster is already awash with the runners and riders to replace Mr Corbyn, who announced he would quit after spearheading the party’s worst election showing since 1935.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner and shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey – both Corbyn allies – join Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry on the list of those likely to launch a bid.
Although Mr Burgon is not believed to have amassed a large following among Labour’s grassroots, his would-be leadership rivals will nonetheless be buoyed by the cold water poured onto his ‘campaign’.
Hilarious tweets included one sarcastic post which simply read: ‘Lawyer. Leader. Legend.’
Another said that ‘this guy will end Boris’ and a fellow tweeter said: ‘Burgonism is the ism the country needs right now.’
The Back Burgon account even superimposed the Labour politician’s head on to a picture of cartoon character Homer Simpson sprinting with the caption: ‘He’s running.’
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, is reportedly poised to take over as interim leader for six months to help his wing of the party to regain control. He is on 16/1 to go on to become leader, according to Ladbrokes .
Keir Starmer is joint favourite to replace Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, according to the latest odds
Sir Keir and Rebecca Long-Bailey (pictured are at 3/1 to become leader if Mr Corbyn steps down as expected
But prior to the election he categorically ruled out a bid and named protege Ms Long-Bailey as a potential future leader.
He was a human rights lawyer before becoming an MP, and co-founded Doughty Street Chambers in 1990.
He worked as human rights adviser to the Policing Board in Northern Ireland, monitoring compliance of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) with the Human Rights Act, and in 2008 he was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Head of the Crown Prosecution Service for England and Wales.
Sir Keir was elected as Labour MP for Holborn & St Pancras in May 2015.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey grew up by Old Trafford football ground in Manchester and began her working life serving at the counter of a pawn shop, according to her website.
She has also worked in call centres, a furniture factory, and as a postwoman before eventually studying to become a solicitor, her online biography adds, while she describes herself as a ‘proud Socialist’ in her Twitter profile.
In 2015 she was elected as MP for Salford and Eccles and has been considered a Corbynite.
Yvette Cooper (8/1) has been an MP since 1997 and has held positions including chief secretary to the Treasury and secretary of state for work and pensions when Labour was in government.
Yvette Cooper in second position at 8/1 followed by shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner on 10/1, according to Ladbrokes
More recently, Ms Cooper has been on a number of committees including the Home Affairs Committee, where as chair she has conducted forensic questioning.
Ms Cooper, who is married to Ed Balls, is a prominent Commons figure and is popular among MPs.
Mr McDonnell named shadow education secretary Angela Rayner (10/1) as a possible successor to Mr Corbyn in an interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell for GQ magazine in October, saying whoever comes after Mr Corbyn ‘has got to be a woman’.
Ms Rayner was brought up on a council estate and left her local comprehensive at 16 with no qualifications and pregnant, after being told she would ‘never amount to anything’, according to her website. It adds that in 2015 she became the first woman MP in the 180-year history of her Ashton-under-Lyne constituency.
Her web page also says she rose through the ranks of the trade union movement to become the most senior elected official of Unison in the North West.