Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Beckett’

Picking the right shadow chancellor is more important than the deputy leadership race

12/06/2015, 11:03:31 AM

by Kevin Meagher

Being deputy leader of the Labour party is a bit like being president of a golf club. The role is largely honorary, conferring on its incumbent a level of artificial seniority, safely removed from the actual running of things. At least with the golf club, you might get a few free rounds. The reward for being deputy leader of the Labour party is the graveyard slot on Thursday morning at the party conference.

Historically, it’s been used to bring balance to the leadership, so, in essence, the post-holder represents the losing wing of the party. So it was with Denis Healey and, later, with John Prescott. Occasionally, a bone is thrown to show the party’s progressive tendencies. So working-class Ted Short replaced snooty Roy Jenkins and Margaret Beckett became the first woman deputy leader (and interim leader following John Smith’s death).

The only interesting pitch in recent years, from someone hoping to become the rear portion of this particular pantomime horse, came from Jon Cruddas when he went for the job back in 2007. He promised to forego a frontbench role and instead concentrate on the unglamorous task of developing the party’s organisation. Most other contenders are happy to inherit this pitcher of warm spit on the basis that an upturned bucket offers the chance to step-up.

But it doesn’t. Labour’s next shadow chancellor is an altogether more important appointment for the future of the party. Whatever analysis is eventually settled on to explain the party’s dire election defeat, routinely finding itself 20 points behind David Cameron and George Osborne on questions of economic credibility and who voters trust to manage their money was surely a huge part of it.


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Shadow Cabinet suggested timeline

28/07/2010, 05:12:38 PM

Monday 6 September, 6pm              

‘Normal’ PLP meeting, will discuss below procedure

Tuesday 7 September, 12 noon       

Special PLP meeting to discuss the 5 key proposals

Weds 8 September, 10-5                 

Ballot on the proposals

Tuesday 14 September, 10-5               

‘Yes/No’ ballot on new procedures

Saturday 25 September, pm                 

New Leader elected


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Margaret Beckett’s letter to the PLP on the future of the shadow cabinet

28/07/2010, 05:05:18 PM


July 29 2010

Dear Colleagues

Further to my most recent letter I am writing to set out some proposals and choices on how our Shadow Cabinet is chosen from the autumn.

The working group established by the PLP has now met on a number of occasions, we have taken evidence from many members of the PLP, and we have received a number of written submissions, for which many thanks.

As I set out last week there are a number of issues we will continue to consider into the autumn but it is clear that we need to agree as a matter of urgency the basis on which the Shadow Cabinet will be chosen. This will be completed before parliament returns in October, as agreed at last Monday’s PLP meeting. As set out in my last letter, this is because the Spending Review will follow very quickly, i.e. 20 October. (more…)

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