Posts Tagged ‘by-election’

Clegg summons all ministers to secret 8am by-election inquest tomorrow

13/01/2011, 01:51:49 PM

A leaked government meeting document passed to Uncut reveals that Nick Clegg is gathering his ministers into emergency session early tomorrow morning. None of them is in any doubt just how serious is the situation for the Liberal Democrats. If they win the Oldham by-election, they’ll need to use it to buy time with a bemused media and hostile electorate while they struggle to find a distinct identity. If they lose, Clegg will use the opportunity to bind his ministers close. He will need to project a united front as the Lib Dem grassroots react to the result.

As they munch breakfast in the comfort of the offices of “the institute of government”, Clegg will kick off a private session to discuss the “implications of Oldham”.

For a leader to gather his entire ministerial team to discuss the implications of a by-election result is without precedent. It simply does not happen. Though the spin doctors will downplay the significance, be in no doubt: Clegg understands how perilous his position will be if they do not win today.

Then the session will open up to civil servants and journalists who will help frame a discussion on “Making the coalition work as a partnership of equals”. When ministers have their constituency diaries cancelled in order to attend sessions with titles like this, you know they are in crisis. Über-mandarin, Jeremy Heywood, who has known a few crises in his time, will try and steady the troops with tales of his experience. Peter Riddell, of the Liberal Democrat-supporting Times of London, will attempt to steady the frayed nerves of tired ministers.

Former Labour ministers, who still believe in the progressive alliance, will attempt to pitch some positive alternatives for the junior partners in the Conservative-led government. Though Andrew Adonis has confirmed in today’s papers that he will not take an advisory role with the government, he still holds out hope of a progressive alliance between Labour and the Liberal Democrats. He will wrap up the session with Clegg.

Even hired-hand, John Hutton, will get in on the act. He is leading a session on the “review of public sector pensions and public sector reform”.

The Liberal Democrats lack a unique identity. Electors no longer get what they stand for. Think about it for a minute. Ask yourself the question “what does Nick Clegg stand for”? Tell me that your first answer wasn’t “lying about tuition fees”.

The opulence of Carlton Gardens might calm his lieutenants tomorrow, but Clegg’s crisis will not go away. His party no longer has a reason to exist. They’ve mopped up the toxins in the Conservative party and it has poisoned their own brand. No end of reassurance from old hands will take this elemental problem away.

If any lobby journalists would like a list of agenda items, please contact Uncut and we’ll send it over.

Tom Watson

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A snap election promises Cameron the glory he craves

12/01/2011, 07:00:05 AM

by Tom Watson

The Conservatives are preparing for a general election in May. That is what a devilishly well-placed conservative insider told me in response to my “Operation Detach” column last week.

My source has been spot on in the past. He also told me that the working assumption for Andy Coulson’s departure announcement was now 25th January. He told me this to help justify his argument that an election in May was a strong possibility. Clearing the decks and all that.

I immediately dismissed the idea of an early election, but it has gnawed at me since. And the more I think about it, the more I think the logic is impeccable. It was Peter Oborne’s brilliantly incisive new year’s eve column that firmed up my thinking.

Here’s the rationale within the Cameron camp: (more…)

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Labour selects candidate for Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election

12/12/2010, 04:40:38 PM
Debbie Abrahams

Debbie Abrahams has been selected to fight Oldham East & Saddleworth

Labour has selected Debbie Abrahams as its candidate in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election which follows the disqualification of former MP, Phil Woolas. She beat Riaz Ahmed and Cllr Abdul Jabbar, who were also shortlisted yesterday, in a selection by members at a count at Queen Elizabeth Hall in Oldham.

Abrahams was Labour’s candidate in Colne Valley at this year’s general election, coming third behind the Tories and Lib Dems. She is a public health consultant, a former director of public health research at Liverpool university and is the former chair of Rochdale primary care trust. She lives in Oldham with her husband, a former professional cricketer who now coaches the England under 19s, and their two daughters.

On winning the selection she said:

“It’s an honour and a privilege to have been selected as Labour’s candidate. Now I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting as many residents as possible in the next few weeks to listen to their concerns.

It’s important that the real issues and concerns of people in the borough are not lost during this by-election campaign. People feel let down by the LibDem-Tory broken promises on police cuts, tuition fees and VAT.  It doesn’t have to be this way, there is an alternative.

This is an opportunity for people to send a message to the government. Oldham East and Saddleworth needs a Labour MP who will stand up and fight for them. I’m determined to keep my promises and deliver the best possible deal for people in this borough”.

The writ is expected to be moved in the new year, with Labour looking to hold the by-election on February 3rd.

UPDATE: Debbie has just recorded this message..

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Is it time to worry yet Nick?

30/07/2010, 10:51:20 AM

Following on from the Bloxwich-West by-election Labour victory earlier this month, Labour gained another council seat from the Tories in the West Midlands last night.

Lynda Leach won the Bilston North by-election on a massive 13.1% swing from the Tories since May this year.

But it is Nick Clegg who should be the most concerned this morning. The Lib Dem vote collapsed, down over 90% since May. Yes that’s 90%. Simon Hughes must be rubbing his hands together today.

The victory gives Labour their 30th seat of 60 on Wolverhampton Council, and puts overall control within reach.


Lab 1292, Tory 460, BNP 131, UKIP 55, Lib Dem 52

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