Labour’s Yvette Cooper is the choice of Midland MPs to become the party’s next leader - and the first female leader Labour has ever had.
The deadline for nominations for the leadership election has now closed, and Mrs Cooper received far more nominations from MPs in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands than any of her rivals.
She’s seen as one of the candidates most likely to win the job - while the other favourite is Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
Leadership candidates needed to be nominated by 35 MPs in order to stand, but the decision now lies with party members and supporters who will vote in an election taking place between August 14 and September 10. Anyone vote in the contest if they register as a supporter, at a cost of £3, before August 12.
Left-wing MP Jeremy Corbyn, a London MP, is also standing after he succeeded in gaining 35 nominations at the last minute.
And Shadow Care Minister Liz Kendall is also standing. She is seen as a “Blairite” candidate who believes Labour should look at how it won elections under Tony Blair rather than rejecting Mr Blair’s reforms.
Midland MPs backing Mrs Cooper included Dudley North MP Ian Austin, Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden, Birmingham Hodge Hill MP Liam Byrne, Birmingham Erdington MP Jack Dromey, Birmingham Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood, Birmingham Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood, Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips and Warley MP John Spellar.
MPs backing Andy Burnham included Staffordshire MPs Paul Farrelly, MP for Newcastle-Under-Lyme and Rob Flello, MP for Stoke-on-Trent South, as well as Walsall South MP Valerie Vaz.
Liz Kendall’s backers include Birmingham Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart and Wolverhampton MPs Emma Reynolds and Pat McFadden.
The candidates will have a chance to show why they should be leader when they questions in a televised debate in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, on June 17, to be shown on BBC Two’s Newsnight.
Nuneaton was chosen because it was a marginal seat Labour hoped to win in the general election - but which the Conservatives held with an increased majority, highlighting Labour’s failure to convince voters.
Meanwhile, Birmingham MP Liam Byrne has published a damning indictment of Labour’s failure in May’s general election.
He said Labour lost support among people who consider themselves to be working class, office workers, shop workers and manual workers - because it had little to offer them.
He also warned that Labour had to offer more to older people and stop talking about cutting bus passes and other benefits for the elderly.
He said: “I’ll put this as gently as I can: Labour is facing a demographic time-bomb unless we transform our standing with older voters.”