Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Peter Hain to stand for deputy leader

Things are getting interesting out there in New Labourland. Peter Hain formally declared this morning that he is after the number two job:

'I can confirm that I do intend to stand for the deputy leadership of the Labour party when that contest happens next year.'

Once upon a time, he would have been regarded as the soft left candidate. These days? It would be interesting to know just what his private opinions are.

The news poses a tactical question for the Campaign Group. They obviously need someone to make up the full ticket alongside McDonnell. Alan Simpson is the name that springs immediately to mind.

Meanwhile, I am hearing rumours of divisions on the Labour left. Some of those close to Ken Livingstone apparently argue that the McDonnell challenge is a mistake, and that it would be better to find a figurehead that can command support in the Labour Party centre ground as well as on the left.

Personally I reckon only a serious hard left candidacy can provide the shot in the arm needed to keep the Labour left's life support system switched on.

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