Following a Guardian callout where we asked you to share your thoughts on the candidates for the Labour leadership election, most readers expressed support for Keir Starmer.
From nearly 500 submissions, readers said they felt Starmer has the charisma to lead and unify the party and demonstrated ‘he cares about people less fortunate than himself’. Of Rebecca Long-Bailey, readers said she closely represents the socialist side of the party, whereas supporters of Jess Phillips said they felt she has ‘a depth of experience in dealing with social injustices first-hand’.
Others said Lisa Nandy ‘gives hope that the party could move away from the hard left’ and Emily Thornberry’s ‘voting record is excellent and she’s a great speaker’.
Some readers also expressed dislike for all candidates and said they were voting for the least worst option.
‘Starmer is the only candidate with the charisma to lead the party’
I think Starmer is the only candidate with the charisma and proven track record to lead the party. His work as a lawyer often meant working pro bono for those who couldn’t afford fees, yet he was prepared to do this instead of furthering his own income. He has integrity and although untested in the glare of press publicity I think he has the will and determination to state his case clearly.
He can be relied upon to refine the last election offer whilst keeping to the basic premise of ensuring needs are met for all. Much of the last manifesto was excellent, it just wasn’t delivered very well. My views coincide with Keir Starmer’s and I can see positives in many of the other candidates, especially the outspoken Jess Phillips, but my choice is made. Dave Evans, 67, retired headteacher, Scarborough
‘Long-Bailey is my preferred candidate based on policy’
Cards on the table, I’m a Corbyn supporter. I’m not especially factional, but he did inspire me to join the party and donate to it. I’ll be voting for my preferred candidate based on policy. In truth I haven’t completely made up my mind yet but it’ll likely be Rebecca Long-Bailey. Her support for McDonnell’s transformative economic policies, a green new deal, constitutional changes to the structure of the UK itself (abolishing the House of Lords is a start), are all things that I support.
My concern is she needs to really shed this falsehood that she’s the “Corbyn continuity candidate”. She is her own woman and she no doubt has her own ideas, and she needs to get that across. I think she’s the best of the bunch considering her values match my own and I don’t consider any of the candidates to be particularly charismatic or statesmenlike. I only hope that although Johnson won this argument, he has not won the overall debate and we can keep fighting for the same principles and positive alternative outlook that did us proud in 2017. Thomas, 28, researcher, Lille, France
‘Starmer is the best chance of convincing people to vote’
Starmer is a plausible leader who stands the best chance of convincing people to vote Labour next time who didn’t in 2019 and he is non-factional, which he has shown by his loyalty to Corbyn. I think he is a good candidate to bring the party together. He’s also a real committed socialist, as his track record shows, and has actually helped workers with legal advice since the 80s. I also think he is very smart and forensically intelligent, and I trust him on strategy and policy. Emma, Brighton
‘I will be voting for Phillips due to her promise to make parliament better reflect votes cast’
I will be voting for Jess Phillips due to her promise to make parliament better reflect votes cast. This country needs proportional representation, otherwise how can we call ourselves a true democracy? This is the most important issue for me, otherwise I would vote for Keir Starmer. He has hinted that he supports PR but if he committed fully then I would vote for him over Jess Phillips. Lawrie, 18, student, Hastings
‘Both Phillips and Starmer have a depth of experience in dealing social injustices’
Jess Phillips or Sir Keir Starmer are realistically the only candidates with enough personality to rival Johnson, bombastic and erudite, respectively. It is a shame they do not take a leaf out of John Prescott’s book in the 1994 leadership race and both go for the deputy position as well, as I see the two of them as an excellent pairing. Each have a depth of experience in dealing with social injustices first-hand, rather than enacting change at arms-length, protesting broad, often non-domestic issues, irrelevant to those they claim to represent, and end up giving the party a ‘protest vote’ visage as Corbyn has done. Ash, 23, software engineer, Nottingham
‘I think Thornberry can appeal to voters across the spectrum’
Emily Thornberry’s voting record is excellent and she’s a great speaker. She has fought for the working class throughout her entire career as an MP. I think she can appeal to voters across the entire spectrum which is absolutely essential. While sticking to many of Corbyn’s policies is important (as they’re overwhelmingly popular in blind votes) we need someone with broad appeal that the media won’t paint as a rabid anti-English communist (which is completely untrue of Corbyn, but is the reason he became unelectable). Natasha, 27, works in marketing, Newcastle
‘I think Starmer will win but will never be able to form a majority government’
I doubt whether the Labour party will ever win a majority in England again. It is dead in Scotland and will probably end up being inched out of its hegemony in Wales but still be the largest party here by a whisker. I think Starmer will win but will never be able to form a majority government. He will have to accept that the only way forward is by working within a broad alliance with other parties. It’s not that I support him just that he may be the most pragmatic candidate left. It’s a pity that Clive Lewis didn’t get very far. Ioan Talfryn, 62, run a company teaching Welsh to adults, Caernarfon
‘Phillips can connect with people on an emotional level’
Whether we like it or not, it’s essential to have a leader who can connect with people on an emotional level. Jess Phillips seems to me to be the only candidate who can do that effectively. She seems to understand how people outside of the Westminster bubble view politics and what is important to them. Her message of needing to see those with whom we disagree as human beings is much needed and gives me hope. I see can her being a strong, compassionate leader who is really willing to listen. Put simply, she is the only one who is inspiring! Another reason for voting for her is to see an example of leadership that is not just white and male – it’s high time we started widening our parameters in this respect. Imogen, 46, school chaplain, London
‘Starmer cares about those less fortunate than himself’
To me Starmer is a socialist in the true meaning of the word. He cares about people less fortunate than himself and demonstrated this by working as a human rights lawyer fighting injustice. Momentum has too strong a hold over the party and this hold must be relinquished. Too far to the left hasn’t worked and we must present middle-of-the-road policies but with a socialist viewpoint. Labour was not trusted at the last election but in Starmer we have an excellent candidate. If elected the whole PLP must get behind him and show complete unity. We can then, and only then, move forward. Carol Palmer, 77, retired nurse, Troon, Scotland
‘Nandy gives hope that the party could move away from the hard left’
Lisa Nandy is the only one who fully acknowledges the disaster of Corbyn and his comrades and is willing to say so. She gives hope that the party could move away from the hard left and that she will actually listen to the people of this country. I’ve had enough of the London, liberal elite telling everyone they’re morally superior. The last few years has seen a rise in bullying, fear and racism. The Labour party under Corbyn has been a stain on this country.
I believe in a government that works for all sections of society, as we are all connected, and that supports businesses and encourages entrepreneurship whilst policing the worst of capitalism. I want a party that provides high quality education for all and incentivises teachers to go into challenging schools. Society will always benefit if our children believe there is a future for them. An end to virtue signalling is also called for if Labour is to connect to its traditional voters. Julie, 59, self-employed, Sheffield
‘Starmer will stop the Tories winning power in 2024’
I’m a former Labour member, who left because of Corbyn, and now support the Lib Dems. I can’t vote but Starmer is by far the most capable candidate, as a human rights lawyer and ex DPP. Starmer is the only one who will deliver a strong opposition, holding Johnson and the Tories to account. As Labour leader, Starmer will stop the Tories winning power in 2024. I can see he’s able to compromise and the possibility of a truly progressive government, probably with a Labour/Liberal coalition and introduction of PR which will ensure the Tories never win power ever again. Bring it on! Liz, 56, Wiltshire
‘Nandy or Starmer are the best candidates to beat Johnson in a future election’
Perhaps a little unusually for a Guardian reader, I’m not a Labour supporter. I usually align with the Lib Dems but given how unlikely they are to form a government any time soon, I sway to whoever happens to be the most centrist party. The question the Labour party voters need to ask themselves is not who aligns closest with my values but who is most likely to beat Boris. The left of the Labour party has been consistently rejected by Britain.
In simple terms they need to reject Long-Bailey as quickly as possible. Putting LB in charge of the Labour party all but guarantees BJ another election win. Thornberry represents a wasted vote and while I like Phillips, she’s not PM material. I believe Nandy or Starmer are the candidates best placed to beat BJ in a future election. I urge Labour members to cast your vote for who you believe could beat Boris, not who represents your values. Blair gave the Labour left an opportunity to influence government decisions, Corbyn did not give you the same opportunity. Owen, 28, self-employed, Northern Ireland

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