The Labour leadership contest heads north as Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith hold rival rallies in Greater Manchester over the weekend. Corbyn is expected to address almost two thousand supporters in Salford on Saturday evening (23 July), while his sole challenger Smith is to rally his troops in Manchester on Friday night.

The Labour leader will be joined by shadow cabinet Richard Burgon and Kate Osamor, with other events planned for London, Bristol, Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Hull, Glasgow and Cambridge.

"Something amazing is happening in British politics. In the past year, Labour's membership has exploded to over half a million – hundreds of thousands of people are finding their voice in a society riven with injustice and inequality," a spokesperson for Corbyn's campaign said.

"Jeremy Corbyn's leadership has brought hope and conviction to British political life. We are going to win this leadership election, and build the movement that can win the next general election for Labour."

The comments come after the left-winger, who secured almost 60% of the vote in 2015, launched his campaign to retain the leadership.

Corbyn, among other things, promised to boost funding for the Equalities and Human Rights Commission so the watchdog can "monitor employers' equality pay audits, to take action where required to eradicate discrimination and to fine employers that do not provide them".

But costing of the commitment was unclear, with no approximate figure being provided by Corbyn or his team, who later admitted they had no figure. "We envisage a minimal net cost," a spokesperson for Corbyn told IBTimes UK.

Smith, a former radio producer turned PR chief for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has promised a £200bn ($264bn ) 'New Deal for Britain' to rewrite Labour's Clause IV so that tackling inequality is at the heart of the party's mission and to hold a second EU referendum to ratify Brexit.

A spokesman for the Pontypridd MP was forced to deny Corbyn's account of Smith's resignation from the shadow cabinet yesterday. "Whilst still members of the Shadow Cabinet Owen Smith, Lisa Nandy, John Healey, Nia Griffith and Kate Green met with Jeremy to discuss the future of the party," the spokesperson said.

"They had hoped to leave that meeting with the confidence to continue to support the leadership in bringing the Labour Party together from within the Shadow Cabinet. During the course of the meeting it became apparent that this would not be possible.

"At the end of the meeting, it was clear that Jeremy Corbyn would not and could not respond to their concerns with a concreate plan and commitment to unite the party. It was evident they were not happy with Jeremy's response and proposals. Immediately following this meeting they resigned."

Labour leadership timetable

  • 18 July: Signing up as a registered supporter to vote in the election begins
  • 19 - 20 July: Number of MP nominations for each candidate to be published
  • 20 July: Deadline for people to sign up as a registered supporter closes
  • 22 August: Ballot papers will begin to be sent out around the UK, but to Labour Party members only
  • 21 September: Deadline for ballot papers to be returned is midday
  • 24 September: The election result will be announced at a Leadership Conference in Liverpool