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Liz Kendall set for whistle-stop tour to revive Labour leadership bid

Published 13/08/2015

Candidate for Labour leader Liz Kendall has refused to stand aside
Candidate for Labour leader Liz Kendall has refused to stand aside

Liz Kendall is to embark on a three-day whistle-stop tour of Britain in a bid to revive her Labour leadership charges, conceding she has "a hell of a long way to go" to persuade people to back her.

The shadow health minister insisted she would not bow to calls for her to quit the contest to help a more popular rival prevent left-winger Jeremy Corbyn converting his poll lead into victory on September 12.

"I am a long shot in this campaign and I have a hell of a long way to go in making this case, but I will keep fighting in what I believe in to the very end," she told The Press Association.

Ms Kendall, who began the campaign strongly but now trails a distant fourth in most polls, will head to Manchester, Edinburgh and Newcastle tomorrow as she attempts to take her message to every region and country.

Visits to Leeds, Nottingham, Bedford and Birmingham follow on Saturday with Cardiff, Bristol, Southampton, Brighton and London competing the itinerary on Sunday.

Labour MP John Mann has called for two of Ms Kendall, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper to be removed from the contest to allow a head-to-head with Mr Corbyn, as the party suffers internal turmoil over the prospect of Mr Corbyn taking charge.

But she refused to give up her shot at the top job.

"You don't stop arguing for what you believe in just because the times are tough. And I actually think strong leaders show themselves when times are difficult not when times are easy.

"The more that I go out and see people and convince them, the better I will do. I will be making the case for what I believe and the party I love that we can create a fairer, more equal society.

"I am going to be in this right to the end. It is a system of preferential voting here and people will give alternatives but I have got a strong case to make."

She said she understood why Tony Blair felt the need to issue stark warnings to the party over what he said was the "annihilation" facing Labour if it elected Mr Corbyn.

But she said it was for rival candidates to present a positive alternative.

"I understand why past leaders and many former senior politicians are making their warnings - but to be honest, I think it is up to all of the candidates in the leadership and deputy leadership race to make the case for a positive, optimistic alternative for the Labour Party that is right for the country," she said.

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