Son of Nigerian migrant, Chuka Umunna, has officially declared to run as leader of the Labour Party in the UK barely a week after the party lost the just concluded elections, leading to the resignation of former leader Ed Miliband.
The 36-year old Umunna made the declaration via a video posted on his official Facebook page on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, making him the second to declare intentions to lead the party after Liz Kendall had a made similar declaration.
Umunna, who is a graduate of St Dunstan’s College, South London, studied law at Manchester University and has been a Member of Parliament since 2010, representing Streatham.
He further availed that he made his decision to run after speaking to about 40 Labour candidates who lost out to Conservatives in target seats at the election before deciding to stand.
Speaking on his Facebook wall, Umunna said: “I think we can and should be winning in seats like Swindon. North, south, east, west – we can absolutely do it as a party.”
According to Independent UK, the following factors put Umunna in good stead to become the next Labour Party leader, and in essence the next British Prime Minister if the party wins the 2020 election:
The TV appearance
Mr Umunna was given a prime billing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show today, and there were many thinking it was to make a big announcement.
He left viewers guessing, however, only committing that he “certainly intends to play the fullest part I can in rebuilding the party” but that it was “too early to say”.
Going on Andrew Marr, Mr Umunna appeared on the red sofa alongside Lord Mandelson, the architect of New Labour’s three successful election campaigns under Tony Blair.
So it’s a strong endorsement when, asked by Marr if he thought the man sitting next to him was “his kind of candidate”, Lord Mandelson replied: “I think he’ll get there [into Government].”
On his way to Millbank for his TV appearance, Mr Umunna was conveniently photographed in full statesmanlike-mode, walking hand-in-hand with his girlfriend, Alice Sullivan.
The appearance before photographers was reminiscent of David and Samantha Cameron in the days surrounding the election, or Ed and Justine Miliband presenting a united front outside their London home yesterday.
The Sunday newspaper article
No campaign to get your name out there ahead of a leadership battle is complete without a big article for a Sunday newspaper – and Mr Umunna’s featured prominently in an eight-page election special in the Observer under the headline: “Where Labour went wrong – and what we must do to put it right”.
In the article, he says “Ed [Miliband] was too hard on himself in assuming all the responsibility for the scale of our defeat”, but adds that the party “must channel our disappointment into rebuilding and renewal”. The implication seems to be that Mr Umunna would be at the centre of that process.
“We can do this in five years if we make the right decisions now and present that aspirational and compassionate case to the British people which we are so good at. We can do this.”
The leadership would, presumably, be one of those decisions.