Prospects for a John McDonnell Leadership Bid
The day I join the Labour Party a leadership contest is announced but I won’t be able to vote in it due to the six month rule. There are any number of likely candidates this time around: both David and Ed Miliband, Alan Johnson, Ed Balls and Jon Cruddas are all likely candidates, more wildcard candidates include Harriet Harman and even the Dark Lord himself.
For the Left, however, John McDonnell is our man. Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group and the Labour Representation Committee, he’s the unofficial leader of Bennite and Marxist-leaning tendencies of the Labour Party. In 2007 he failed to get enough dominations from MPs to trigger a Leadership Contest against Gordon Brown, so what are his prospects this time?
The number of Labour MPs in the House has been greatly reduced, bringing the number of nominations needed down from 45 to only 33. It has been suggested that the socialist MPs did seem to fair somewhat better than the Labour average, so this should be promising. Of the 29 MPs who nominated McDonnell for the Leadership in 2007, all but 16 have resigned or lost their seats. Three new MPs endorsed by the LRC were successfully elected, giving him a likely total of 19. This still leaves him 14 short, and in a contest which is likely to see candidacies from left-leaning mainstream candidates (Cruddas, Balls) his potential pool of nominees is likely to be squeezed.
Last time around John managed to win significant support within the TUC, a major asset considering the electoral college set up gives one third of the vote to affiliated trade unions. Will he be able to do the same with so many other candidates?
With any luck those new MPs from Unite will turn out to be as left-wing as the Daily Mail wanted people to believe. I guess we’re about to find out just what kind of stuff our new Labour MPs are made of.