Umunna is strong fav to lead Labour with Lord Mandelson in tow

As the dust settles on a catastrophic General Election result for Labour, a cluster of influential names have begun to emerge as possible candidates to fill Ed Miliband’s boots.

Over the first weekend since Labour were battered by the ballot box, some of the most likely candidates for Labour’s top job took the opportunity for some airtime.

One of those was Shadow Health Minister Liz Kendall, whose Sunday Politics show appearance drew praise after provocative presenter Andrew Neil was unusually backed into a corner at one point.

Kendall labelled Labour’s campaign as “too negative” before publically declaring she would run for leadership on the programme, citing education as the core message her party had overlooked.

Despite being the only official candidate to state her position early on, the MP for Leicester West is still only an 8/1 shot with Ladbrokes to get Miliband’s vacated post, while a colleague in the Shadow Cabinet has raced to the head of the betting instead.

Chuka Umunna is now a 13/8 shot to succeed Miliband after his own TV appearance on the Andrew Marr Show saw the Shadow Business Secretary flanked by New Labour mastermind Lord Mandelson.

Such endorsement from Mandelson, who orchestrated three successive Labour election wins, is sure to resonate, and while Umunna is yet to throw his hat into the ring, on this evidence it won’t be long.

The 36-year-old insisted Labour had failed to appeal to the apsirational middle classes and the MP for Streatham also featured heavily in an eight-page Observer spread on the election with headline: “Where Labour went wrong – and what we must do to put it right”.

One of the main criticisms of the failed manifesto has been its strong leaning back towards the left and for this reason Andy Burnham’s potential candidacy may not be so desirable.

The Shadow Health Secretary is a 5/2 chance to become the next leader, but his staunch position on issues such as the NHS may be seen as too hard line, especially when the party is in desperate need of widening its appeal again.

Meanwhile to the disappointment of many within the party, Dan Jarvis ruled himself out of the race at this early stage.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.