No Heckling! Strict Instructions Revealed For Labour Leadership Candidates During Hustings

Rachel Wearmouth

Labour leadership rules bar hopefuls from interrupting their rivals and making opening remarks in hustings with party members, HuffPost UK understands. 

The restrictive controls have been put in place by general secretary Jennie Formby as the five candidates vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn try to convince members across the country to back them. 

The events, the first of which takes place in Liverpool this weekend, are arguably the most important of the leadership race as they may be the only direct contact candidates have with some members during the race. 

The official guidance, seen by HuffPost UK, reads: “Candidates will not be allowed to make opening remarks and will go straight into questions. At the end of the event they will be given two minutes to make any final closing remarks.”

It also says that “no candidates will be permitted to interrupt, question or heckle their opponents” during answers to questions from the audience. 

However, the party has underlined that moderators will encourage candidates to “pursue a dialogue with each other” after answers.

Opening remarks are a standard feature of debates, with the election TV debate all allowing for them.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt given time to set out their overall case to members in the Tory leadership hustings last year and previously, Labour candidates have been able to open proceedings with their own statement. 

Outsiders in the contest, such as Emily Thornberry and Jess Phillips, fear the move could push them out of the debate while the frontrunner shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey will face the minimum challenge while giving their answers.

A source close to leadership candidate Jess Phillips told...

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