Meacher withdraws from Labour leadership race
Published by webmaster for 24dash.com in Central Government
Michael Meacher withdraws in favour of a left-wing candidate
It has been confirmed that former environment minister Michael Meacher has agreed to stand aside from the Labour leadership contest in favour of fellow left-winger John McDonnell.
A spokesman for Mr McDonnell's campaign said Mr Meacher had agreed to withdraw from the contest after the pair met this afternoon.
Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said: "I'm delighted that John McDonnell is going to be the candidate of the Left."
Mr McDonnell said: "I welcome Michael's friendly decision. We are now working together to appeal to all Labour MPs to ensure that an election takes place to enable every Labour party member to participate in deciding the future of our party."
Mr McDonnell would not say how many MPs had nominated the two men.
There was no immediate confirmation of the move from Mr Meacher or his campaign team.
The prospective candidates had struck a deal that whoever garnered the least backing among MPs would stand down in favour of the other.
The move was designed to give a contender from the Left a better chance of achieving the 45 nominations required to reach the final ballot and take on Chancellor Gordon Brown.
However, they delayed a decision after discussions last Thursday, saying their levels of support were "too close to call".
Both Mr McDonnell and Mr Meacher have insisted their combined support will be enough to reach the 45 nominations needed.
A spokesman for Mr Meacher later confirmed he had agreed to stand aside.
At a press conference in a cramped Westminster meeting room, Mr Meacher confirmed that he was standing aside to allow Mr McDonnell to stand on a "united left platform for the leadership".
Mr McDonnell said he was "confident" that the combined pledges of support gathered by the two men would pass the threshold of 45 MPs needed for him to secure a place on the ballot paper.
But he urged MPs to convert those pledges into official nominations, and called on any MPs who have yet to make up their minds to nominate him in order to guarantee that there will be an election.
Copyright - Press Association 2007
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