Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Labour: left split on leadership challenge

The Labour left is apparently divided over who should mount the symbolic challenge to Gordon Brown when Blair finally does step down, according to the Sunday Telegraph:

'The Campaign Group has split into two factions. One is led by Alan Simpson, the MP for Nottingham South, and backs Michael Meacher, the former environment secretary, as its Left-wing challenger.

'The other group of "ultra Left-wingers" is backing John McDonnell, the MP for Hayes and Harlington and the campaign chairman. Mr McDonnell ... believes that Mr Meacher lacks Left-wing credibility because he failed to resign his government post over Iraq.'

The paper adds:

'Challengers will need the support of 45 MPs to stand. While Mr Meacher stands a better chance of garnering this number than Mr McDonnell, both candidates are likely to struggle.'

I can see the arguments for both potential candidates. Meacher could probably win wider support among both the PLP and constituency activists. But in my book, having nine homes kinda disqualifies anybody seeking to act as the standard bearer for the left.

McDonnell - pictured above - is much more the serious leftwinger. Given that whoever puts their name forward is in for a good hiding anyway, I don't see what there is to lose by him standing. And he really really wants to, you know.

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