Labour could give way over leadership timetable, and more developments

So Labour decided not to have a deputy leadership contest. Or as one person present at the meeting of Labour’s national executive (which decided it on Tuesday) said: “I don’t think it’s something many people in the party give a toss about”.

That view is hotly contested by NEC member Peter Kenyon (see below) and others outside the NEC and parliamentary party, but in the end it wasn’t up to them. General secretary Ray Collins insisted tho the meeting that the party rule book was with him on this issue (again, pace Kenyon).

More interesting is the possibility that the decision to allow leadership hopefuls just nine days from yesterday to gather at least 34 nominations (the minimum to stand) will be overturned tomorrow at the meeting of the NEC procedures committee, as new blog Labour Uncut reports. Candidates have a window of just four days (Monday to Thursday next week) to submit those 34 names. I’m slightly irked I didn’t find this out – I knew the committee was meeting, but not that the decision might fall within their purview.

Three influential MPs have already spoken out against the short nomination period – left-winger John McDonnell, backbencher and not-leadership-but-maybe-something-else candidate Jon Cruddas and Gordon Brown’s former parliamentary private secretary Jon Trickett, who told me today the decision was “deeply regrettable”.

As widely reported, Labour will unveil its new leader on 25 September – the eve of party conference. And then elections for the Shadow Cabinet will begin – not before as I erroneously reported. I was mislead by the Labour party rule book which calls for elections as soon as possible after a general election – but then it also calls for other things which get ignored every year…

Btw, further to the post below, Liam Byrne has been  in touch to say he has “no plans” to run for deputy leader. So now you know.


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