Eddie Izzard to fight Lansman for NEC place

Three new places reserved for rank and file party members are currently up for grabs on Labour's governing body.

Comedian and Remain campaigner Eddie Izzard is likely to stand for election to Labour’s National Executive Committee.

He is expected to announce his candidacy imminently.

Izzard stood for the NEC last year but failed to win election despite gaining over 70,000 votes in a ballot of party members.

After the result he tweeted that he was “disappointed” but added he was “in this for the long haul”.

Three new places reserved for rank and file party members are currently up for grabs on Labour’s governing body after a series of rule changes were agreed last month.

As part of a package of reforms put forward by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the number of Labour members serving on the NEC has been increased from six to nine. The number of members on the all-powerful NEC will increase from 36 to 39 as a result.

Momentum, the party-within-a-party set up by lifelong Labour activist Jon Lansman in 2015 to support Jeremy Corbyn, has put forward four members for election – including Lansman himself.

That sets the stage for a battle between Lansman and Izzard, who are likely to be the two most high-profile candidates standing for election to the NEC – each representing a different wing of the party.

Izzard is widely regarded as a “moderate”. Although he is known to disapprove of such labels, he has described himself in the past as a “radical moderate”.

Izzard is best known in political terms as a passionate advocate for the European Union and campaigned hard for the UK to stay in the EU during the referendum campaign last year.

He reportedly spent £36,000 of his own money as he travelled the country as part of the Remain campaign.

The comedian has campaigned tirelessly for Labour in general elections and mayoral elections in London and has said he might consider running for mayor of the city himself if the timing was right.

There will be around eight candidates for the latest round of NEC elections.

In the last ballot in the summer of 2016, supporters of the Labour leader bagged all of the available places reserved for rank and file members.

Leading moderates, including Izzard and Ellie Reeves, who is now the Labour MP for Lewisham West and Penge, lost.

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