EU Referendum: The Favorites to Replace Jeremy Corbyn After No Confidence Motion

Jeremy Corbyn
Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London, May 10. Corbyn has been criticized for not campaigning as hard on the EU as David Cameron. Paul Hackett/Reuters

Britain's landmark vote to leave the European Union claimed the position of one of the country's political leaders, and it may now claim another. Two opposition Labour members of parliament, Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey, on Friday tabled a motion of no confidence in their leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The move does not have a constitutional bearing on Corbyn's position yet. It has ordered a discussion at the next Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting on Monday where, if the PLP chairman accepts its discussion, Corbyn's Labour peers could hold a secret ballot on his future. However, the Labour membership base, as compared with Labour MPs, widely supported Corbyn's appointment as the party leader and would not take kindly to him being removed for a centrist candidate.

In the wake of Britain voting to leave the EU, criticism from within the party's ranks has intensified, as Labour MPs suggest his Remain campaign was lackluster and failed to inspire the party's voters at the polls after the Leave campaign gained victory with 52 percent of the vote.

Since his landslide win in the party leadership election last September, Corbyn has divided the party and many centrist figures have been opposed to his leadership. The campaign and its failure have provided the ammunition for those pitted against him to launch a coup.

Here are the contenders to look out for if Corbyn is to face a leadership challenge, and the figures who are unlikely to replace him.

The Likely Contenders

Dan Jarvis, 5/1

The former soldier and member of parliament for Barnsley Central is the bookmakers' favorite to replace the embattled Labour leader. He gave a speech in March that outlined his economic vision for the party, and many believe that he is interested in one day leading it. But, before the referendum, his team had rebuked any suggestion that he is preparing to oust Corbyn, saying that he only sought to help the party move forward. Whether the shock Brexit result and Corbyn's performance change that fact remains to be seen.

Hilary Benn, 5/1

The shadow foreign secretary and son of Tony Benn is joint favorite for the role alongside Jarvis because of his perceived honesty, sticking to his positions and delivering a dramatic and much-lauded speech in the Houses of Parliament in December 2015 in support of air strikes against the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in Syria, and in defiance of Corbyn.

Lisa Nandy, 6/1

The shadow energy secretary and member of parliament for Wigan is seen as a softer left-winger than Corbyn who could appeal to his core support but also more centrist voters who are opposed to Corbyn's ideological views. She has previously stated, in a New Statesman interview, that "I genuinely don't want to do it, that's not what I've got in my mind."

Tom Watson, 8/1

The deputy head of the Labour Party is much-loved by the party's membership, who vote for him to join Corbyn's side in the leadership election. He is viewed as principled after calling for Tony Blair to resign in 2006 and as a unifier for his attempts to bring the party together.

John McDonnell, 8/1

The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer is a close friend of Corbyn's and was rewarded for his friendship with the economic brief after the Labour leader's victory in September. He was pro-Remain in the EU referendum and is seen as someone who may have put up a better fight than Corbyn.

The Outsiders

David Miliband, 10/1

The brother of the former Labour leader Ed Miliband has been in political exile since Ed unexpectedly snatched the leadership from him in 2010. Miliband lives in New York and is no longer an MP, and the strand of straightforward Blairism he exemplifies is looking a little tired. But stranger things have happened.

Chuka Umunna, 15/2

The Londoner had been the favourite to succeed Ed Miliband after last year's general election but he decided to pull out of the contest because of media intrusion into his personal life. He has become a face of the pro-EU campaign before the referendum but it remains unclear if he is willing to put himself back into the limelight just over a year after he got cold feet. He is popular with the party's centrist figures and seen as competent on business as former shadow business secretary.

Angela Eagle, 12/1

The shadow business secretary has laid blame for the Brexit with Cameron's Conservative government and voter frustration. The membership is likely to do the same, rather than blaming Corbyn, so this could stand her in good stead.

The Unlikely Contenders

Sadiq Khan, 25/1

After the result, Khan spoke to London's foreign nationals, saying that the city welcomed them with open arms and telling them not to be worried. He is one of the biggest global names in British politics at the moment after his London mayoral victory in May. But it would be politically tricky to run for the leadership so soon after winning a mandate to lead the capital until 2020.

Ed Miliband, 100/1

Failed to inspire voters at the last election and many Labour members still blame him for the party's position today. A longshot that the party would not accept back.