Pressure mounts on undecided MPs to back likely losers

The weekend has seen a flurry of letters to MPs from unrelated activists all over the country asking them to nominate John McDonnell.  Several MPs report having received literally dozens of such emails in the last 72 hours.

There was a short burst of similar activity in support of Diane Abbott just after she announced her candidacy, but it soon tailed off.

The current deluge is the result of an impressive organisational effort by McDonnell, who has also succeeded in getting the leaders of several unions (for instance, the bakers, the Fire Brigades Union, the Communication Workers Union) to write to MPs in his support.

Reports from constituency parties reveal an almost universal desire for as many names as possible on the leadership ballot paper. Regardless of their individual allegiences, party members want the widest choice.

Nothwithstanding all of which, McDonnell and Abbott look unlikely to make it, and Burnham is struggling.

Which begins to place those MPs who haven’t yet nominated – who are now in a minority, though not yet a small one – in an interesting position.

With three candidates not on the ballot paper, and no obligation to vote for the person you nominate, they are under increasing pressure to give their nomination to one of the three candidates least likely to win.

Rarely a position a politician likes to be in.

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3 Responses to “Pressure mounts on undecided MPs to back likely losers”

  1. Thabo Miller says:

    Although nominating a likely loser is not something that politicians like to do, this is an unusual situation. Although it may irritate whichever New Labour figure wins the leadership, undecided MPs probably can earn a lot of political capital in the eyes of their CLP and the wider public by nominating Dianne or John in order to have an open and democratic contest. For example, Frank Fields has nominated John, but very publicly said he is unlikely to vote for him in the mian contest; and has already had praise from unexpected quarters due to his now seemingly strong democratic credentials.

  2. Jon Rogers says:

    MPs need to put the interests of the Party ahead of their own careers and nominate the “likely losers” (as you put it!) There is of course safety in numbers so they should act in concert to give the rank and file membership what we want.

  3. Charli Langford says:

    The piece above mentions John McDonnell’s support among Unions, and also says that CLPs want the maximum number of candidates and widest choice of policies. The problem is, Unions and CLPs can’t nominate. I won’t speculate on the reason for this, but I will point out that it is seriously odd and in my view undemocratic that some voting entities aren’t allowed to nominate but others are. The only way to get round this is for responsible MPs to nominate candidates that they know the Unions and CLPs want. With Ed Balls and the Milibands already having sufficient nominations to get on the ballot it is fairly clear whay has to be done. Of the three still seeking nominations McDonnell and Abbott widen the policy choice most, and McDonnell currently has more nominations so has the best chance of reaching the required number.

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