Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey has publicly called on rivals to support a pledge to build more council homes.
As the battle to succeed Jeremy Corbyn continues, Long-Bailey used a speech in Peterborough to argue that a promise to build at least 100,000 local authority homes for social rent per year would help “lay the foundations of aspirational socialism”.
The challenge to Sir Keir Starmer and the third candidate, Lisa Nandy, highlights what some in Labour argue is the start of a more personal approach to the contest.
She said: “So if you want millions of people to realise their dream of a secure, quality home in their community that doesn’t cost the earth and you want Labour to proudly argue for a council house building boom, then I’m your woman.”
While Long-Bailey has publicly backed this idea, it was not included in a list of 10 pledges released by Starmer – widely seen as the favourite to win the contest.
Very happy to support this pledge 🌹 https://t.co/lGcyQeqZ2e
— Rebecca Long-Bailey (@RLong_Bailey) February 17, 2020
A spokesman for Starmer said he had “set out his commitment to a new generation of council and social homes in every community”, and that he had been nominated for leader by the Labour Housing Group, the affiliated party organisation focusing on the subject.
Lisa Nandy has since accused Labour leadership rival Long-Bailey of an “attempt to manufacture division where there is none” over the call to back a council house “building boom”.
“As Labour leader I would maintain our commitment to a programme of mass council house building and ensuring secure, affordable tenancies for renters,” Nandy said.
“We need to go further than the manifesto, with a plan to tackle the overheated housing market in London and big cities to balance the economy.”
While one ally of Nandy described this as “a really low tactic”, they said they did not blame Long-Bailey personally for the “attacks”.
“This does seem to have intensified in the last few days,” they said, “but it mainly comes from her more excitable supporters.”
A source in the Starmer campaign said: “It’s up to them what they do. We are running a very positive campaign and trying to bring the party together.”