Dawn Butler announces bid to replace Tom Watson as deputy Labour leader

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The firing gun has been sounded in the race to replace Tom Watson as deputy Labour Party leader after Dawn Butler announced her intention to stand.

Speaking to Bloomberg TV, Butler said: “I’ve thought very carefully about who should replace Tom and after giving it some thought, I will be throwing my hat in the ring.”

Watson quit as deputy to Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday evening, the first official day of the election campaign. In a letter, he also confirmed he would not be contesting the West Bromwich East constituency, a seat he has held for 18 years.

Shadow equalities secretary Butler is the first out of the blocks in the bid to ensure Watson is replaced by a woman. On the centre-left of the party, the opposition frontbencher is often seen sitting next to Corbyn during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The 50-year-old Londoner is looking to position herself as pro-Corbyn and a voice for minority groups at the top of the party in the upcoming deputy leadership contest.

“I think I’ve got a track record of countering, holding people to account around race, equality and justice,” she said.

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“I’ve got a track record of being very supportive to our leader Jeremy Corbyn and ensuring the Labour Party is on the front foot.

“There are structural barriers that hold people back. I want to as deputy leader change all of that, change the way the country is currently developing, change the way we’re seeing hate overcome hope, change the script on all of that.”

Laura Pidcock, shadow employment rights secretary, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow business secretary, are two other names being touted by those on the left of the party.

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