Wearside’s MPs are split over who to back in Labour leadership battle

Labour leadership candidates, from left, Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper at the launch of the year's Pride of Britain Awards' national bus tour.
Labour leadership candidates, from left, Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh, Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper at the launch of the year's Pride of Britain Awards' national bus tour.
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MPs in Sunderland, Washington and Durham are split over who to vote for in the Labour Party’s leadership election.

Andy Burnham has emerged as the early front-runner as nominations opened this morning, and has already confirmed his place on the ballot paper by recording support from at least 35 MPs.

Figures published by Labour show Mr Burnham has been formally backed by 53 Commons colleagues since nominations opened this morning.

But although his bid has the support of many North-East colleagues, none of Wearside’s MPs have backed him.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, is backing shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, who has 40 nominations.

Ms Cooper also has the support of Bridget Phillipson, who represents Houghton and Sunderland South, and North Durham’s Kevan Jones.

Shadow health minister Liz Kendall has 36 nominations, including that of Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott.

Left-winger Jeremy Corbyn has been endorsed by 11 MPs - including Easington’s Grahame Morris - and shadow international development secretary Mary Creagh by just five.

Nominations are open until June 15, and the result of the election will be announced on September 12.