Labourites call for deputy leadership election too


11:10 am - May 19th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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A growing number of voices within the party are calling for a robust deputy leadership election within the Labour party too.

NEC member Peter Kenyon said on LC earlier this week that under Labour rules the deputy leader post could also be contested.

But 52 members of the new parliamentary group of MPs have to support a challenger for there to be an election.

Writer and activist Anthony Painter told Tribune magazine:

Party renewal is an ongoing sore within the Labour Party. The party needs to be more diverse, democratic, open and engaged. Jon Cruddas’ statement last night seemed to be a hint in that direction, and clearly the leadership race needs the strongest and most diverse feel possible. My sense is that there should be a deputy leadership race and Harriet Harman should stand as a very strong candidate in that, and the leadership election as well.

He was echoed by Sunder Katwala, General Secretary of the Fabian Society:

Whatever she does decide about the leadership, I think she should take the step of opening up the deputy leadership by formally resigning the post and announcing she will seek nomination again, to mark the fact that a change in leadership and the party leaving office after 13 years marks a different political era. She would clearly be the strong favourite for the deputy leadership.

Personally, I also think we ought to introduce two deputy leadership roles: that would be the only way in the long-term to guarantee that, whoever was Leader, we could always have some gender balance in our top team, which I think is an important expression of Labour values of gender equality.

However, Sunder Katwala hopes that Jon Cruddas will run for the post.

When I put the question to Cruddas last week however, he said he had no interest in being deputy leader and throught Harriet Harman was “doing a great job”.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Katwala: …we could always have some gender balance in our top team, which I think is an important expression of Labour values of gender equality.

Maybe that’s what Harman is counting on by staying as deputy leader? If it’s a choice of men for leader, then Labour would need a woman to run against Harman, so the debate would be about the qualities of the candidates (including their views on feminism and equality) and not just about their gender. If Harman runs for leader, loses and is replaced in her current role by Cruddas…cue even more articles about gender equality. And since Labour won’t make it a statutory requirement for a ‘balanced’ team (regardless of ideology or suitability), the election can only be made from the candidates who get the nominations.

‘Harman is doing a great job’. Cruddas would say that wouldn’t he. The so-called left candidate has already done a deal with the other contenders because this is how he operated last time – resulting in an unelected Brown victory. Cruddas is
primarily a pragmatist and an opportunist – his main priority is his own career. He’ll have a key position after party conference I’m sure.

Sorry, can someone tell me why a major political party would feel the need to ensure ‘gender balance’ at the top, rather than trying to offer equality of opportunity to all? Or have I just pointed out what is wrong with Labour at the moment – trying to doctor the results, rather than level the playing fields.

This gender imbalance can very easily be rectified by electing Diane Abbott as leader.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Anthony Painter

    RT @libcon: Labourites call for deputy leadership election too http://bit.ly/bOqNV8

  2. Martin Mayer

    » Labourites call for deputy leadership election too | Liberal … http://ht.ly/17qlMk

  3. Jon Worth

    Does Cruddas want 2nd go at being deputy? http://is.gd/cgatb Danger 2 middle aged grey men at top. We need Harman in one of top positions!

  4. Liberal Conspiracy

    Labourites call for deputy leadership election too http://bit.ly/bOqNV8

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