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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8015469/Labour-hopeful-Lisa-Nandy-backs-abolishing-monarchy.html

'Id quite like to see Queen Meghan at some point': Labour hopeful Lisa Nandy says she would like to abolish the monarchy but admits she wouldn't mind if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took the throne

    Lisa Nandy said that as a 'democrat' she would vote to abolish the UK monarchy
    Rival Rebecca Long-Bailey refuses to name a favourite former Labour leader
    Ms Long-Bailey also desperately tried to distance herself from Jeremy Corbyn

By Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline and David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent For Mailonline

Published: 09:31, 18 February 2020 | Updated: 16:07, 18 February 2020

Labour leadership challenger Lisa Nandy has said she would vote to abolish the monarchy at a referendum but admitted she would 'quite like to see' Meghan Markle one day become Queen.  Ms Nandy told a televised hustings event last night that as a 'democrat' she would vote to 'scrap' the Royal family but revealed a soft spot for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  It came as her rival, Rebecca Long-Bailey, refused to pick a favourite former leader of the Labour Party as she continued to try to distance herself from Jeremy Corbyn.   The shadow business secretary who gave Mr Corbyn a ten out of ten ratings for his leadership after he led the party to its worst election results since the 1930s proclaimed: 'There is no such thing as Corbynism.' 

Ms Nandy and Ms Long-Bailey are two of the final three candidates in the race to replace Mr Corbyn.  Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, is the third person still in the running and he is the overwhelming favourite to win the top job.  Ms Nandy risked derailing her campaign after she admitted she wanted to abolish the monarchy.  A YouGov poll published in May 2018 revealed that more than two thirds (69 per cent) of Britons consider themselves to be monarchists while just 21 per cent do not want a Royal family.  The trio of leadership rivals was asked at a Channel 4 Labour leadership debate how they would vote if there was a referendum on keeping the Royal family.  Ms Nandy replied: 'I'm a democrat, so I would vote to scrap it. But this is not the priority of the country.' 

But she added: 'I'd quite like to see Queen Meghan at some point.' 

Sir Keir said he would not vote to scrap the monarchy but said he would 'downsize it'.  Ms Long-Bailey said 'we have got more important things to worry about' but insisted she 'wouldn't vote to abolish the monarchy'.

Meanwhile, the challengers were also asked to name their favourite Labour leader from the last 50 years.

Ms Nandy picked veteran Labour MP Barbara Castle and described her as the best leader Labour never had while Sir Keir opted for Harold Wilson who was PM in the 1960s and 1970s.

But Ms Long-Bailey declined to choose anyone. None of the trios mentioned Tony Blair, Labour's most electorally successful leader, or Mr Corbyn.  Ms Long-Bailey has the backing of the current party leadership in the race to succeed Mr Corbyn.  But she has repeatedly insisted she is not the 'continuity Corbyn' candidate despite her long-standing backing for the incumbent and her commitment to continuing with his policies.   Last night she again tried to put open water between her and Mr Corbyn as she claimed 'Corbynism' does not exist.  She said: 'There is no such thing as Corbynism. There are our Labour values.  If we believe in building more council homes, investing in our futures through education and industrial strategy that's socialism. That's not Corbynism and we shouldn't throw away those policies.'

Voting in the Labour leadership contest starts on February 24 and stops on April 2 with a winner due to be announced on April 4.  The deadline to proceed to the final round of the contest was last Friday when Emily Thornberry fell just short of making it through.  Candidates needed to secure the backing of a selection of major unions or alternatively secure the support of at least 33 constituency Labour parties to progress.  Sir Keir, Ms Nandy and Ms Long-Bailey all won major union backing as well as CLP support.  But Ms Thornberry did not receive any major union backing and then failed to hit the magic number of CLPs.

Labour's record of opposing the monarchy

*  In January leadership outsider Clive Lewis called for a referendum about dumping the Royal Family as he defended Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The left-wing former soldier, who was the first to drop out of the race, told an audience in Brixton, London: 'One of the things I always talk about is democracy. Why not have a referendum in this country on the future of the Royal family? We're a democracy, I'd rather see us as citizens than subjects.'
*  In 2015 Richard Burgon, who is now running to be Labour's deputy leader, called for the abolition of the monarchy before taking his oath of allegiance to the Queen. The then newly-elected MP for East Leeds declared that the Royals should be replaced by an elected head of state as he completed his swearing-in ceremony, saying: 'As someone that believes that the head of state should be elected I make this oath in order to serve my constituents.'
*  In 2017 then Labour MP Emma Dent Coad refused to apologise after mocking Prince Harry's Army career and accusing Prince Philip of cheating on the Queen. The Kensington MP, who lost her seat last December, abused the senior Royals at a fringe meeting at Labour's party conference in Brighton. She wrongly claimed Prince Harry was not qualified to fly Apache helicopters despite him deployed as a gunner to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.
*   After becoming a Queen's Counsel a senior barrister in 2002, leadership front-runner Sir Keir Starmer told a magazine interviewer the decision was odd as I often used to propose the abolition of the monarchy.
*  In 2002, a poll of backbench MPs found a majority wanted the monarchy to be stripped of its constitutional powers or abolished altogether. The Queen should have a purely ceremonial role, according to 44 of the 101 MPs questioned. Another 35 favoured a move to a republic, the survey for BBC1's On the Record programme showed.

Channel 4 Labour hustings key points:

    Reinforcing defeat: Rebecca Long-Bailey said 'there is not one [policy] that I would drop' when asked if she would drop any ideas from the last Labour manifesto which handed Boris Johnson an 80-seat majority.
    Yeah but no: 'We had people voting Tory in order to tell us that we had to change' Lisa Nandy disagreed with her somewhat bluntly
    'There is no such thing as Corbynism. There is our Labour values' - Ms Long-Bailey attacked the idea she is the Corbyn candidate
    No decriminalisation of cannabis: None of the candidates backed it, although Sir Keir came closest, saying he would not decriminalise it immediately.
    Don't mention Blair (or Corbyn):  None of the candidates said that triple-election winning PM Tony Blair or current party chief Jeremy Corbyn was Labour's best leader of the past 50 years.

Who has made it into the final round of the Labour leadership contest?

Voting in the Labour leader and deputy leader contests will start next Monday and close on April 2 with the winners announced on April 4.  There are three candidates in the running to replace Jeremy Corbyn: Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy.  There are five candidates in the running to be the next deputy leader: Angela Rayner, Rosena Allin-Khan, Richard Burgon, Ian Murray and Dawn Butler.  Labour activists ditch 'Corbynism'.  Labour Party members appear to be abandoning the politics of Jeremy Corbyn in favour of a more moderate leader, a new analysis suggested today.  More than half of Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs) which backed Mr Corbyn in the leadership contest in 2015 have endorsed soft-left candidate, Sir Keir Starmer, this year.  And half of those who backed Mr Corbyn in the 2016 run-off against Owen Smith is also supporting the shadow Brexit secretary.  The numbers suggest he warrants his position as the bookies' favourite to take over, but they will be a blow to Rebecca Long-Bailey, who is being backed by Mr Corbyn's top team and hardline campaign group Momentum.  Ms Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, has praised the outgoing leader despite his massive election failure, rating his tenure as ten out of ten and suggesting he could have a place in her shadow cabinet.  Although not all Labour Party members have to be a member of a CLP and all can vote independently, the figures suggest the party could be ready for a less divisive and softer centre-left leader.