Emily Thornberry admits she faces ‘squeeze’ in Labour leadership race

Labour leadership contender Emily Thornberry has said she is facing an "old-fashioned squeeze" from the campaigns of frontrunners Sir Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey.

The shadow foreign secretary is struggling to get the nominations from local constituency parties or Labour affiliates she needs to make it on to the final ballot paper.

In an interview with BBC News, she acknowledged she was finding it difficult in a contest perceived as a battle between the two "slightly monolithic" campaigns of Ms Long-Bailey on the left and Sir Keir on the centre-right.

"Unfortunately the Labour Party can very easily fall into the good old way of fighting things and (in) the Labour Party it's left versus right," she said.

"And so, to a certain extent, it's a good old-fashioned squeeze between these two big campaigns with all the data and everything else, and it's quite difficult in the middle of that.

"But what I want to do is to break this and to get on to the ticket and then for people to actually see the calibre of the candidates."

Sir Keir and Ms Long-Bailey, along with the fourth contender Lisa Nandy, are already through to the final ballot of the membership.

Earlier, Ms Thornberry vowed to seize empty homes in a bid to tackle the housing crisis if she became Labour leader.

Speaking on BBC Two's Victoria Derbyshire, she said: "If you leave a flat empty and you're not using it then you will lose it...

"They would need to justify why it's been empty for the amount of time that it has.

"But if you're leaving a flat empty for years – which if you go down the Thames, there are all of these developments, all of these big blocks of flats, and you go down there at night – none of them have got the lights on. They are all empty."

Asked if she would take private properties off people, Ms Thornberry replied: "Yes. Because they are not being used and because we have a housing crisis.

"We've got people sleeping on the streets, we've got homeless families in bed and breakfasts – it's not right."

Ms Thornberry said she owns three houses, including one she bought for her mother and another that her brother lives in, as well as her own home.

Labour's election manifesto included a pledge to give councils new powers to "bring empty homes back into use by raising council tax on properties that have been empty for more than a year".

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