This is the tenth year in a row that I have convened a panel to compile a list of the Top 100 Most Influential People on the Left. Back in 2008, Gordon Brown topped the list, but of the other 99 people included, 84 of them do not figure on the 2017 list.
This year’s panel was made up of two devout Corbynistas, one proud Blairite and a national newspaper political correspondent. The most difficult thing when deciding who to include an exclude, is to define what ‘influence’ actually means. In the end it means being influential in a combination of national politics, the media, on the Labour Party and its leader.
In all, there are 26 new entries in the whole list, on top of the 29 which appeared last year. Out go Gordon Brown, Angela Eagle, Neil Kinnock, Pat McFadden, Dan Jarvis, Rosie Winterton, Owen Smith, Kexia Dugdale and David Sainsbury, among others. From the SNP we lose Alex Salmond and Angus Robertson. Indeed, the SNP only occupy two slots on this list.
As in the 2016 list, in come a whole host of Corbynistas like Ellie Mae O’Hagan, Matt Zarb-Cousin, The Canary’s Kerry-Anne Mendoza, Matt Turner from Evolve Politics, Faiza Shaheen and Emma Rees from Momentum. Sir Keir Starmer is the highest new entry at number thirteen. The Greens are represented by their co-leader Caroline Lucas.
The panel also did a bit of star spotting by including the young leader writer on The Guardian Randeep Ramesh and Faiza Shaheen, the Corbynista director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies.
People always look at individuals on lists like this and sniff the political wind to find out if their heroes are on their way up and their anti-Christs are on their way down or even out. There’s little doubt that following the general election Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters have entrenched their position and rising up the list. Thirty seven people on this list could loosely be described as Corbynistas, an increase from 29 last year. It’s wholly possible that next year there might be a majority of Corbynistas.
One of the highest risers last year, the former Shadow Defence Secretary Clive Lewis (89 to 15) has plummeted this year down to 52. Journalist Rachel Shabi is the highest riser from 90 to 30, while the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush rises 30 places to 49.
The top ten makes for interesting reading, and there was a lot of debate about the placings on our panel. Karie Murphy, who runs the Leader’s office crashes in at number five, while Owen Jones re-enters the top ten at number 9, up from 24 last year.
All in all, it’s clear that Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are on the rise and the right of party is still in retreat – much the same as last year. The election result has solidified Corbyn’s own position and it’s difficult to see any challenge to his authority coming forward in the next twelve months. Sadiq Khan is the most likely source of trouble, but until he can demonstrate real achievement in London, he’s unlikely to risk upsetting the ship.
So a year of achievement for Jeremy Corbyn. If we can say the same next year, it is clear that the majority of this list will be supporters of his – something which few would have bet on even two years ago.
1. (-) Jeremy Corbyn
Leader of the Labour Party
Even though the Labour Party lost the election, somehow it didn’t feel like it. Corbyn’s tenuous hold on the leadership solidified overnight and the party now feels he has earned the right to fight the next election on his own terms. His increased power was exemplified by the fact that he didn’t need to bring any (bar one, Owen Smith) of his old adversaries back into the Shadow Cabinet.
(+1) Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London
He may not have a speaking slot at the Labour Party conference, but he’s the most powerful elected Labour politician in the country. A cute media performer, he talks a good game, but the proof of the pudding will be in solid policy achievements. So far they are scarce. Housing is where he can really make a mark, but so far the jury’s out on whether he can meet his ambitious housebuilding targets.
(+1) John McDonnell
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer
John McDonnell holds huge away over Corbyn. Some say he is Corbyn’s Svengali, although he’s in competition with our Number 4 for that title. Milne and McDonnell are said to be the ones pulling Corbyn’s strings and he doesn’t do much without their say-so.
(+1) Seumas Milne
Director of Communications & Strategy
Seumas Milne’s grip on power around the leader has grown hugely in the last twelve months. He’s created a powerful media team which is effective at rationing media appearances and keeps interviews with interviewers thought to be unfriendly to a minimum.
(+22) Karie Murphy
Head of the Leader’s Office
Said to be the oil that lubricates the Corbyn machine, Murphy is one of they key members of his operation. The leader’s office is said to be much more tightly organised and this is largely down to Murphy’s abilities.
(-4) Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister of Scotland
Last year we said: “Sturgeon’s reputation will stand or fall on the result of a second independence referendum. Will she have the courage to push for it?” It’s now off the agenda for the foreseeable future and the loss of SNP seats in June further tarnished the reputation of Scotland’s First Minister. Have we already seen ‘peak Sturgeon’?
(-1) Tom Watson
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Some argued for Tom Watson to drop much further in this list. He tried to get rid of Corbyn by failed and now seems a somewhat diminished and somewhat anonymous figure. However, he has tentacles which reach into all parts of the party and remains an ultimate fixer.
(+4) Andrew Murray
Chief of Staff at UNITE
It may seem odd to place Andrew Murray ahead of Len McCluskey in this list but he makes the top ten due to his closeness to Jeremy Corbyn. He was drafted in to effectively run the general election campaign. He’s often accused of being a Stalinist, but this character trait served him well in running a well oiled election machine. He may be back at Unite, but his influence is still felt around Jeremy Corbyn.
(+15) Owen Jones
You can’t keep Owen Jones down for long and he rises in this year’s list, not just due to his media omnipresence but also his tours of the country inspiring activists in marginal seats. His prolific writings and tweets make him by far and away the most influential left of centre commentator.
(-1) Andrew Fisher
Director of Policy
Fisher has a controversial past but is very adept at imposing himself and his views. One of Corbyn’s most trusted lieutenants, he wrote the party’s election manifesto which was widely praised by all and sundry. He now has time to put some flesh on the policy bones.
(-4) Len McCluskey
General Secretary, UNITE
McCluskey has gone from mild criticism of Corbyn to his chief cheerleader in the Union movement. His union continues to fund the party to a massive extent and that’s unlikely to change.
(+5) Emily Thornberry
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Like a phoenix from the ashes, Thornberry has recovered from her white van moment to rise, almost by accident, to the top of the Shadow Cabinet. Now seen as a serious potential successor to Corbyn she has almost effortlessly become one of his key lieutenants even if she is far from being on his wing of the party.
(Re-Entry) Sir Keir Starmer
Shadow Brexit Secretary
Having managed to convincingly hold half a dozen positions on Brexit in the space of a year, Sir Keir is this year’s highest new entry. Seen as a potential leader, some say he is overhyped, but given the breadth of opinion on Brexit in the party he’s done well, and done well across the Despatch box too.
(-4) Diane Abbott
Shadow Home Secretary
Would die in a ditch for her leader. Promoted to the Home Affairs portfolio, she ought to have shone, but she falls in this year’s list because of a series of gaffes, one of which nearly derailed the election campaign. Needs to work her passage back to a position of real influence.
(-5) Frances O’Grady
General Secretary, TUC
O’Grady’s profile has fallen in the last twelve months although she has lately been outspoken on Brexit. Her weakness as a platform speaker holds her back, although she is much more effective in one to one media interviews.
(+17) Angela Rayner
Shadow Education Secretary
A rising star, Rayner has found her voice in the fight against Theresa May’s grammar school proposals. Last year we said “the jury is out on how far she will go.” The jury’s in and she’s now seen as a serious leadership contender.
(New) Barry Gardiner
Shadow International Trade Secretary
Said to be the Housewives’ favourite Labour politician, Barry Gardiner achieved a huge profile during the general election given his willingness to appear on any media outlet at any time. One of the five politicians trusted to do so by Seumas Milne. The Labour equivalent of the LibDems’ Tom Brake. And that’s meant as a compliment.
(-10) Jon Lansman
Founder & Chair, Momentum
Lansman has started to appear on the media and does a good job when he does, and he’s largely stayed out of trouble. He’s quietly developed Momentum into a powerful activist force and this was evident in the election where he was able to deploy activists to marginal seats.
(New) Andrew Gwynne
Shadow Communities & Local Government Secretary, Campaigns Co-ordinator
Gwynne has become a key lieutenant to Jeremy Corbyn and has become a very effective media performer. Combative but with an obvious sense of humour. Rewarded for his loyalty and media achievements in the election campaign with an important shadow cabinet role.
(+8) Chuka Umunna
Former Shadow Business Secretary, Founder VoteLeaveWatch
Umunna has kept up a high media profile, despite no formal position in the party or in Parliament. A redoubtable Remainer, his main objective is now to fight Brexit from a position sometimes out of kilter with his party’s.
(-1) Andy Burnham
Mayor, Greater Manchester
He walked his election in Manchester and has maintained a reasonably high national profile. Handled the terror attack well and was a unifying factor. However, there’s clearly little love lost between him and his party leader.
(-) Caroline Lucas
Co-Leader of the Green Party
Won her seat with ease at the election and still really the only Green with a huge public recognition factor. A resonant voice in the Brexit debate, her challenge now, with her co-leader Jonathan Bartley is to take the Greens to the next level.
(New) Nick Brown
Nick Brown has huge experience as a whip and he knows the task ahead of him, particularly in keeping his parliamentary flock together over Brexit.
(New) Ian Lavery
Chair of the Labour Party
Like Andrew Gwynne, Lavery was thought to have had a good election and was therefore promoted to replace Tom Watson as Labour Party chair. Liked by people on all wings of the party he is seen as a unifying force.
(-7) Yvette Cooper
Chair, Home Affairs Select Committee
Although beaten into third place, she emerged from the 2015 leadership campaign with some credit, and has retained a high media profile. She has made a strong start as chair of the Home Affairs select committee and is respected across the House.
(-3) Tim Roache
General Secretary, GMB
Roache isn’t the media friendly performer that his predecessor Paul Kenny was, and he hasn’t quite got his gift of the gab. But then again, few have.
(-1) Iain McNicol
General Secretary of the Labour Party
Described in this list last year as “a dead man walking”, McNichol has proved to be a great survivor. Although his authority was usurped by Andrew Murray in the election campaign, he still there and gives little sign of falling on his sword.
(+7) James Schneider
Head of Strategic Communications, Leader’s Office
Schneider was adept at carving out a high media profile for himself in his job as national organiser for Momentum, but since his appointment to Corbyn’s team he has had to eschew appearing on the broadcast media. A shame really as he became the acceptable face of the left.
(New) Matt Zarb-Cousin
Former press office to Jeremy Corbyn, Political Pundit
Since he left working for Corbyn Zarb-Cousin has developed a strong presence in the political broadcast media. A total believer in the Corbyn project he’s happy to put forward the party line in any forum, and has gained a lot of respect for his media appearances.
(+60) Rachel Shabi
Journalist & Commentator
Omnipresent on our screens, the redoubtable Shabi is one of the few Corbyn supporting commentators to be taken seriously by the media. Thoughtful and fluent, she deserves her massive rise in this year’s list.
(-10) Paul Mason
Freelance Journalist & Commentator
Some say he is Corbyn’s ‘Chemical Ali’, others see him as a guru. Our panel felt that his influence in the Corbyn inner circle is overstated but his projection of the Corbyn project in the media means his influence on the wider left remains strong.
(-16) Lisa Nandy
Former Shadow Energy & Climate Change Secretary
If Jeremy Corbyn were to fall under a bus, some in the Labour left were looking to Lisa Nandy as the candidate of the left in a future leadership election. However, she’s had a very quiet year for her, with just her appearances on THIS WEEK keeping up her public profile.
(+14) Jess Phillips
Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, Chair of the Womens’ PLP
We predicted in 2015 that Phillips would be “one of the characters of the new Parliament.” We were right. Outspoken, funny and able to take the fight to the enemy, Jess Phillips is hugely talented but it’s difficult to see her accepting a front bench position, even if it were offered.
(New) Kerry-Anne Mendoza
Editor in Chief, The Canary
If anything can be described as Alt-Left it is The Canary, which has a distant relationship to factual reporting, even though it describes itself as a news site. In fact, it is no more than a Corbynista propaganda site, but has been hugely successful in attracting clicks. Kerry-Anne Mendoza is its public face and is in much demand in the hated MSM.
(-12) Dave Prentis
General Secretary of UNISON
Prentis is a softly spoken moderate and any influence he exerts will be behind the scenes rather than shouted from the ramparts. A resolute defender of Corbyn in the media. Another union leader who has had a quietish year.
(-6) Baroness Alicia Kennedy
Having run Tom Watson’s deputy leadership campaign Kennedy is the power behind the throne. A true party insider, she knows where a lot of bodies are buried. But as Tom Watson’s star wanes, so does Kennedy’s.
(-5) Carwyn Jones
Welsh First Minister
Carwyn Jones has struggle to build a UK wide profile and certainly comes a poor second to Nicola Sturgeon in the self publicity stakes. However, he is a powerful advocate of Wales’s interests in Westminster and is becoming more vocal on Brexit.
(+28) Tony Blair
Former Prime Minister
Some say Tony Blair is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the future of Labour but given that if you’re even a tad to the right of Jeremy Corbyn you’re denounced as either a ‘Blairite’ or a ‘Tory’, it just shows that the three time election winning former prime minister still continues to shape the debate on the left, just as Margaret Thatcher does so on the right. His stance on Brexit helps him rise up the list this year.
(-2) Hilary Benn
Former Shadow Foreign Secretary, Chair, Brexit Select Committee
It was thought that Hilary Benn would be a real thorn in the side of the government on Brexit when he took over as chair of the Brexit Select Committee. It hasn’t really turned out like that due to the many competing voices on the issue. The next twelve months could be somewhat different, even if controlling the many different voices on his select committee is like herding disobedient cats.
(-1) Heidi Alexander
Former Shadow Health Secretary
One of the nicest people in parliament, Alexander was given a huge promotion when she was appointed to the Health portfolio, where she did an excellent job. Her resignation was clearly very painful to her. She ought to be a major player in the Labour Party’s future. She’s concentrating on chairing a new initiative promoting Britain’s continued membership of the Single Market.
(-1) J K Rowling
Labour Party donor
J K Rowling has developed a knack of speaking out rarely, but effectively. Her donations both to Labour and to the Remain campaign inevitably confer influence.
(-11) Kevin Maguire
Assistant Editor, Daily Mirror
Wisely turned down the job as Corbyn’s Head of Communications, Maguire has become the go to voice for those who want to know what is going on at the top of the Labour Party. Even though he has been critical of Corbyn’s performance, Corbyn’s people know they can’t afford to alienate him.
(-9) Kate Osamor
Shadow International Development Secretary
Last year we said: “Seen as a competent performer, Osamor needs to develop a higher public profile, which is not easy to do in this role.” It wasn’t. She didn’t. Hence her fall.
(-1) Anushka Asthana/Heather Stewart
Joint Political Editors, The Guardian
They have confounded those who thought a political editor job share could never work. They’ve broken big stories and each developed a good media profile.
(-1) Polly Toynbee
In 2015 we wrote: “Toynbee has been a surprising Corbyn sympathiser…but it’s inevitable that at some point she will part company with Corbyn and his team.” Last year we wrote: “It didn’t take long.” She’s now done a bit of a reverse ferret and seems again to be more supportive of the Labour leader. In danger of being out-influenced by the new generation of left of centre writers.
(New) Rebecca Long-Bailey
Shadow Business Secretary
Said to be Jeremy Corbyn’s favoured successor Long-Bailey didn’t feature in last year’s list but none of our panel could work out why. She’s in at 46 but in reality should be a lot higher given the opportunities to make political hay in this portfolio.
(-11) Baroness Shami Charkrabarti
Labour Peer & Shadow Attorney General
Last year we said we considered her a shoo-in to Jeremy Corbyn’s new shadow cabinet. We were right. However, she continues to be dogged by accusations that the conclusions of her June 2016 inquiry into antisemitism in the Labour Party were tepid to say the least. Seems rather uncomfortable in the rough and tumble of party politics.
(New) Emma Rees
National Organiser, Momentum
A bright and media friendly successor to James Schneider, Rees is responsible for growing the activist base of Momentum. Said to enjoy good relations with the Corbyn team, she is likely to be a star of the future.
(+30) Stephen Bush
Editor, New Statesman ‘Staggers’ blog
One of the rising stars of a new generation of journalists on the left, he was one of the few to predict the course of Corbyn’s election as Labour leader. He is getting an increasing broadcast media profile and if he continues in this vein will next year outrank many of his older rivals.
(-4) Jonathan Ashworth
Shadow Health Secretary
Has been a critic of Corbyn but has decided to hang on in there in the Shadow Cabinet. Consistently walks a political tightrope, but is an impressive media performer. He’s done a very good job in this portfolio, which hasn’t restricted him speaking out on other subjects too.
(-3) Harriet Harman
Former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Publishing her memoirs kept her profile up, and she continue to be influential on women’s issues.
(-37) Clive Lewis
Labour MP for Norwich South, Former Shadow Defence Secretary
His resignation from the shadow cabinet now looks to have been a major tactical mistake. Been very quiet of late.
(-3) John Cryer
Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party
A popular chair of the PLP, Cryer has had a difficult task in keeping the party together in parliament. Deserves a medal.
(-3) Helen Lewis
Deputy Editor, New Statesman
Lewis’s profile has been maintained and she is considered one of the more balanced and thoughtful commentators on the centre left.
(-) John Woodcock
Labour MP for Barrow in Furness
One of the MPs not afraid to confront the Corynistas and tell it like it is, despite the bullying and aggression he has encountered. Everyone, including him, was astonished he retained his seat. Has had to temper his anti-Corbynism.
(New) Glenys Willmott
Leader, Labour Group of MEPs
Brexit has given Willmott a higher profile, but it is likely to be shortlived if we do indeed leave in March 2019.
(Re-entry) Anas Sarwar
Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament
Standing for the leadership of Scottish Labour, even if he doesn’t win, he’s going to be a key player in reviving Labour’s fortunes north of the border.
(-6) Cat Smith
Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement, Youth Affairs & Local Transport
Cat Smith has been as close as anyone to the Labour leader yet she hasn’t really fulfilled her early promise. Possibly because she has a rather low profile portfolio in the shadow cabinet.
(-3) Jon Trickett
Shadow Cabinet Office Minister
Formerly chief political advisor to Ed Miliband, Jon Trickett has made the transition seemlessly to the new guard. However, he made little impact as campaign coordinator and although he is a reliable media performer for Corbyn, he has been shunted off into one of the more obscure portfolios.
(New) Richard Leonard
Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament
Competing with Anas Sarwar for the Labour leadership in Scotland, he is thought to be Jeremy Corbyn’s favoured candidate, but it remains to be seen whether his Englishness holds him back.
(New) Manuel Cortes
General Secretary, TSSA
One of the more cerebral trade union leaders, he is listened to across the party.
(New) Ellie Mae O’Hagan
Ultra Corbynista, O’Hagan’s writings are pored over by others for signs of where the left of the party is heading.
(-9) Jason Cowley
Editor, New Statesman
The New Statesman has agonised over its role as a left of centre magazine during Corbyn’s leadership, but it goes from strength the strength, particularly in its online offering.
(+22) Alison McGovern MP
One of the last keepers of the Blairite flame, she is an increasingly important voice for the right of the party, especially on Brexit.
(-2) John Swinney
SNP Deputy First Minister of Scotland & Education Secretary
Has moved from the Finance to Education portfolio, a traditional bed of thorns in Scotland. His performance here could signal more success for the SNP, but if he fails…
(-5) Mick Cash
General Secretary, RMT
The RMT continues to call more strikes than any other union, or it appears to, but for a change it seems to enjoy a lot of public support for doing so on Southern Rail.
(-5) Liz Kendall
Former leadership candidate
A disappointing year from Liz Kendall, despite her regular appearances on THIS WEEK. She ought to be the main spokeswoman for the right of the Labour Party but hasn’t maintained the profile she gained in 2015-16.
(Re-entry) Chris Leslie
Labour MP for Nottingham East
Chris Leslie re-enters this list entirely due to his profile on the issue of Brexit and his media appearances on behalf of Open Britain. An effective performer and a loss to the front bench.
(Re-entry) Alastair Campbell
Editor at Large, The New European, Diarist
Alastair Campbell may be the devil to many Corbynistas but he makes a dramatic re-entry to this list because he has become one of the most high profile and eloquent exponents of the case to remain in the EU. It’s not a left wing cause per se, but he’s constantly putting lead in the pencil of those on the left who believe in it.
(-6) Gloria de Piero
Labour MP for Ashfield
In any rational world Gloria de Piero would be one of the faces of the Labour Party, but politics is rarely rational. Her time will come.
(+12) Baroness Angela Smith
Labour leader in the House of Lords
The role of Labour leader in the House of Lords is crucial in the parliament, especially given the Great Repeal Bill. The question is how independent from the party leadership Smith will prove to be.
(-7) Katherine Viner
Editor, The Guardian
Last year we said: “You just get the feeling that The Guardian isn’t influencing the debate in the way that it used to.” There’s a distinct lack of innovation in either its print or online offering and we see no reason to change our view this year. It needs to be more than Owen Jones and Polly Toynbee.
(New) Steve Rotheram
Mayor of Liverpool
Rotheram has some work to do in reunifying the Liverpool Labour Party following his unsurprising victory in May. He’s an effective operator and will do well as an advocate for the city.
(-33) Ed Balls
Now entering the ‘post Strictly’ phase of his life, it’s difficult to see a return to frontline politics for this talented politician. It will be interesting to see where his career takes him next.
(+18) Ayesha Hazirika
Political Commentator & Comedian
Former adviser to Harman and Miliband, Hazirika is now carving out a role for herself in the world of political punditry and broadcasting. She has also revived her stand-up career with a sell-out comedy tour.
(+20) James Meadway
Economic Adviser to John McDonnell
Meadway has overtaken Richard Murphy as the far left’s favoured economic guru. Came to McDonnell from the New Economics Foundation.
(-18) Mhairi Black
SNP MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire South
Mhaira Black may not quite have lived up to her maiden speech, but she remains an inspirational figure in Scottish politics. Her second year in Parliament has been quieter than her first. It was even rumoured she might stand down at the June election.
(-8) Marvin Rees
Mayor of Bristol
Wrestled back the mayoralty of Britain from an Independent and one of the few black figures in the Labour Party in a position of power. However, unlike other city mayors he hasn’t achieved much of a national profile.
(+1) Lloyd Embley
Editor, Daily Mirror
The Mirror was an early critic of Jeremy Corbyn but Embley has carefully repositioned the paper and some bridges have recently been built.
(New) Randeep Ramesh
Chief Leader Writer, The Guardian
A talented writer, Ramesh is seen as one of the most influential voices on The Guardian and is tipped for bigger things.
(-9) Lucy Powell
Former Shadow Education Secretary
A good communicator, Powell ought to be found a role which doesn’t involve languishing on the backbenches. It’s a thorough waste of her talents.
(New) Dawn Foster
Columnist, The Guardian
One of the new breed of columnists on the left who offer a refreshing new slant on the issues of the day. She’s becoming a bit of a feminist icon.
(-39) Stella Creasy
Labour MP for Walthamstow, Former deputy leadership candidate
A great champion of single issue causes, Creasy is a one woman lobbying machine. In any other world she’d be a shoo-in for the shadow cabinet.
(New) Andrew Harrop
General Secretary, Fabian Society
The Fabian Society has traditionally been seen as a bit fusty but under Harrop’s leadership it has seen something of a renaissance, publishing uncharacteristically controversial research papers.
(-28) Luke Akehurst
Secretary, Labour First
One of the most talented Labour people never to have become MP. His Labour First group is influential in the party. One of the party’s troopers.
(-4) Richard Burgon
Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
Described by some as Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Comical Ali’ Burgon is certainly a true believer. He’s got a very high profile portfolio but more often than not appears on the media talking on subjects way outside his brief. And it invariably doesn’t go well. His favourite answer to a question is “Well a better question would be…”
(-11) Matt Wrack
General Secretary, FBU
Wrack provided good leadership to his members in the dispute with the government over pay, conditions and pensions, and unusually, he got the public on his side. Last year he has led his union back into Labour Party affiliation.
(+6) Richard Angell
A key player in the struggle to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, Progress has now become seen by some as the right wing rival to Momentum, when it is actually nothing of the sort. Angell’s profile is on the rise.
(New) Dr Faiza Shaheen
Another of the new breed of Corbyn supporting commentators, who’s an original thinker on Labour and social issues.
(New) Matt Turner
Editor, Evolve Politics
Turner has just been given a lobby pass and although Evolve isn’t as well known as The Canary, it’s infinitely more readable. Expect him to rise dramatically up next year’s list.
(+1) Matt Forde
Political Commentator & Comedian
An uber-Blairite Forde has developed a good reputation as a serious political commentator as well as a comedian. His mimicry is astonishingly accurate and his weekly political show on the channel DAVE has become a must-watch for viewers of all political persuasions.
(New) Sarah Champion
Labour MP for Rotherham
Champion has been outspoken on the issue protecting children from sexually motivated gangs and it cost her her shadow cabinet job. She’s unlikely to remain silent for long.
(New) David Babbs
Executive Director, 38 Degrees
38 Degrees has established itself as one of the more influential left of centre campaigning organisations, even if its effectiveness is a little hit and miss. Babbs has been a big part of its growth.
(-10) Rachel Reeves
Chair, Business Select Committee
Another of Labour’s lost generation who refuse to serve under Jeremy Corbyn. She’s a real loss to the frontbench, but she now has a renewed opportunity to make her mark as a select committee chair.
(Re-entry) Damian McBride
Special Advisor to Emily Thornberry
McBride more than anyone has helped Emily Thornberry to rise up this chart this year. And for that he deserves to return to this list.
(+4) Aaron Bastani
Commentator & Founder of Novara Media
A controversial figure, Bastani has carved an influential role for himself and his social media based company and is held high in the affections of Corbyn and his team. He’s been slightly usurped by The Canary and Evolve, though in terms of influence.
(-6) Sam Tarry
Political Officer, TSSA & Director of Corbyn for Leader
Tarry is close to Corbyn and led his team during the second leadership election. An effective operator but rumour is he has made some enemies and is being slowly edged out. Failed to get a seat at the election.
(-13) Luciana Berger
Former Shadow Mental Health Minister
An impressive performer, she was the only Jewish member of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow team. It was never going to last, was it? Stood to be mayor of Liverpool but came a very poor third in the selection. Still retains a high profile on mental health.
(-) Leanne Wood
Leader of Plaid Cymru
In publicity terms Plaid certainly punches above their weight given their consistent lack of ability to really make a breakthrough in the Welsh Assembly or indeed the Westminster parliament. They did get one extra seat but it feels as if Leanne Wood has taken Plaid as far as she can.
Corbs’ favourite Grime artist. His support for the Labour leader helps him get down wiv da kidz.