Will Harriet Harman send out deputy leader nominations?


9:08 am - May 14th 2010

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contribution by Peter Kenyon

Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee meets in five days time to decide the timetable for the election of its next leader. There are three options now in play: fast track before the summer recess, normal procedure in time for Conference, Tory 2005 model using Conference for TV test ballot after.

Being a ‘harpy’ for accountability myself, shamelessly rule guided, if not bound, I support the timetable arising from the Rule Book .

The Labour Party has already budgetted a modest £500,000 to conduct a postal ballot of its members to elect constituency representatives to its NEC and National Policy Forum, which are conducted under the ‘one-member-one-vote’ system.

A mailout to constituencies, and affiliated trades unions and socialist societies is imminent calling for nominations. The deadline is 30 July, with a ballot during August and the first half of September.

Under Rule 4.2.B.ii nomination papers for Leader/Deputy should also be distributed where there in no vacancy. And thereby hang a couple of tales. First, the NEC in its wisdom after the 1997 put that rule in the deep-freeze. Second, it cited ‘advice’, which maintained the rule only applied when Labour was in opposition.

Obviously, there is now a vacancy for Leader. So a process is in train, save for the options cited by me above, only one of which is tenable IMHO, namely – normal procedure as set out in the Rule Book.

With regard to the Deputy Leader post, no one can claim we are not in opposition.

So I hope Harriet Harman, our new interim Leader will lead by example and insist that nomination papers for the post of Deputy Leader are issued with the rest in accordance with the Rule Book.

This does not mean there will be a challenger and an election. But this would be a clear sign from her that accountability matters. By doing so she would be drawing a line under 13-years of evasion under New Labour.

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Reader comments


1. Mike Killingworth

Now that, thanks to boundary changes and the apparent unpopularity of Cameron in inner London, I have a woman Labour MP, I am thinking of writing to her to draw attention to this (quote is from Times Online – might as well use it whileit’s still free):

Ed Balls had offered to abandon his own bid in favour of his wife… (who) has since announced she will not be standing, telling friends* that, at 41 and with three young children, “now is not the right time for me”.

*and presumably her old man as well.

Well, it appears to be the age at which successful Party leaders are chosen.

It is remarkable, is it not, that not one of those Blair Babes (including my MP) are, thirteen years later, papabile.

I think we need to develop a Conspiracy line on why Yvette’s difficulty is all the fault of evil males PDQ. Or perhaps, in the spirit of the times, contract the job out to “Red Pepper”.

So I hope Harriet Harman, our new interim Leader will lead by example and insist that nomination papers for the post of Deputy Leader are issued with the rest in accordance with the Rule Book.

Doubt it. Harman’s said she’s not running for leader, so: (1) she likes the current job; (2) she reckons she’d have no chance of the leadership; (3) since all the ‘front runners’ are male (so far…), she still thinks it’s her job (and hers alone?) to ‘balance’ the guy at the top (the ‘political wife’ argument); (4) she reckons no-one else will take her on.

PS: Mike Killingworth’s observation that “It is remarkable, is it not, that not one of those Blair Babes (including my MP) are, thirteen years later, papabile.” is spot on – but (a) the analysis is going to need something a bit more sophisticated than ‘it’s a misogynist conspiracy’ (especially given Harman’s position); (b) it ought to be the spark to ensure that it won’t be the case in five (or ten) years’ time. Maybe Cooper will run if Balls loses now and whichever Miliband loses the next election.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Will Harriet Harman send out deputy leader nominations? http://bit.ly/aej79S

  2. newleader

    http://www.harrietharman.tk RT @libcon Will Harriet Harman send out deputy leader nominations? http://bit.ly/aej79S

  3. Tweets that mention Liberal Conspiracy » Will Harriet Harman send out deputy leader nominations? -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy, newleader. newleader said: http://www.harrietharman.tk RT @libcon Will Harriet Harman send out deputy leader nominations? http://bit.ly/aej79S […]

  4. Tim Nicholls

    @SamCEllis @mikeblakeney it wld seem a contentious issue… http://bit.ly/a2NSJt Cos uncertainty is what you want in leadership rules!!

  5. newleader

    http://www.harrietharman.tk RT @tim_nicholls @SamCEllis @mikeblakeney it wld seem a contentious issue… http://bit.ly/a2NSJt Cos uncertainty…

  6. » Labourites call for deputy leadership election too | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] member Peter Kenyon said on LC earlier this week that under Labour rules the deputy leader post could also be […]

  7. Peter Kenyon

    @DMiliband I wish you and the other #labourleader contestants would come clean first about the Deputy Leadership http://goo.gl/R9g8





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