EMILY Thornberry has edged over the line in her bid to stand for the Labour leadership with just minutes to spare as the nominations closed.

As the 2.30pm deadline approached the Shadow Foreign Secretary had received 21 nominations from MPs and MEPs; tantalisingly, just one short of the requirement. But in a late push she managed to secure two extra votes in the final few minutes to get her over the line to join four other colleagues.

Earlier, Clive Lewis, the pro-EU leftwing Norwich MP, pulled out after receiving just a handful of nominations. He said: "At this stage, it's clear that I won't get on the ballot. So, I'm standing aside in the spirit of pluralism, diversity and generosity that I've promoted throughout this campaign, so that those who have supported me can recast their nominations."

The final numbers were: Keir Starmer 89; Rebecca Long-Bailey 33; Lisa Nandy 31 and Jess Phillips 23.

Meanwhile in the race for the deputy leadership, Richard Burgon, the Shadow Justice Secretary, also received last-minute support to see him over the line, receiving 22 nominations.

Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, received the highest number at 88, followed by Ian Murray, the party’s only Scottish MP, on 34, Dawn Butler, the Shadow Women’s and Equalities Secretary, on 29, and Dr Rosena Allin Khan, on 23.

Those who qualified in the two contests now need to get the nominations of 33 local constituency parties or three Labour affiliates, including at least two trade unions, to enter the final postal ballot phase of party members and registered supporters.

Ed Miliband, the former party leader, said he had nominated Sir Keir as the best candidate to "deliver 21st century socialism" and Ms Rayner for the deputy leadership, having "an ability to inspire our party and movement".

Speaking on LBC, Ms Phillips said she would like her colleague Ms Nandy, who represents Wigan, to win if she was not successful herself. The Birmingham Yardley MP also backed Mr Murray for the deputy’s job.

Following the close of nominations, the Edinburgh South MP said: "It’s fantastic that we have a diverse range of candidates standing in this contest and I look forward to debating the future of our party and our country.

“I’m standing to be deputy leader because I want to change our party so that we can win again and transform people’s lives.

“We must change the way our party works, so that we are a party for the whole of the UK."

Mr Murray added: "Never again can we stray from our values and never again can we face both ways on the most important issues of our time.

“I know what it takes to beat the odds and I am determined that Labour will win again.”

Elsewhere, a row broke out over the location of the hustings in large cities. These include London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol, Durham, Cardiff and Birmingham.

Some candidates hit out against the decision not to hold events in some regions or smaller towns.

Sir Keir said in a letter to Jennie Formby, the party’s General Secretary: “I am disappointed that the party has chosen not to organise leadership and deputy leadership hustings in every Labour party region and nation.

“I am concerned that this decision does not reflect well on the party and will be a step backwards in the whole movement’s determination to take the argument for a radical Labour government back to the country,” he added.

Ms Phillips tweeted: "It will take a lot more than holding a local hustings to win back trust in the seats we lost at the general election, but it would be a start. Let’s have more events in every region and nation - and not just in big cities!"

Over the weekend, the left-wing activist group Momentum, which helped propel Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership in 2015, said it was recommending support for Ms Long-Bailey and Ms Rayner.

It will now ask its members whether they agree with the recommendations, with ballots, consisting of just two questions, to be sent out this week.

The group's backing for Ms Long-Bailey is unsurprising given that she has long been the favoured candidate of the left to take on Mr Corbyn's mantle.

However, many Corbyn-supporting MPs are backing Mr Burgon for deputy rather than Ms Rayner, and Momentum's support will be a significant boost for her campaign.

Although she already has the support of her close friend Ms Long-Bailey, the MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in Manchester is distrusted by some on the Left after backing Andy Burnham for leader in 2015 rather than Mr Corbyn.

Reports have suggested some around the Labour leader believe she was responsible for trying to undermine him.