Labour’s leadership row hots up

Daggers are already all but drawn in Labour’s leadership contest, with would-be contenders Michael Meacher and  John McDonnell publicly rubbishing each other’s claims.

A campaign has also been launched on facebook called Stand Down Meacher by Labour blogger Grimmerupnorth, and has 125 members so far. It supports McDonnell as the only credible left candidate for Labour leader.

All-guns-blaring Meacher has a letter in today’s Guardian claiming that McDonnell has only 15 verbal pledges, compared to the 24 signed statements he has from fellow MPs.

And, just to twist the knife even further, Meacher adds:

“The figures make it quite clear that it is impossible for him to get anywhere near the 45 nominations required. That is all the more the case when his supporters have admitted that nearly all of them would transfer to me if he withdrew, while only a handful of my supporters would transfer to him if I withdrew.”

McDonnell has retaliated by accusing Meacher of making “some outrageous verging on the delusional statements,” that in fact Meacher’s support is dwindling. He says on his blog:

“The problem is that Michael Meacher will not reveal even in the strictest confidence the list of nominations he claims to have secured. His only known supporters – Alan Simpson, Kelvin Hopkins and even Michael’s own personal assistant – have confirmed that they have not seen any list

“Over the last month Michael Meacher has claimed 50 nominations secured. This then went down to 40. It is now down to 25. In Saturday’s Guardian it suggested what most believe to be accurate that he has only two firm commitments. In the Guardian today he claims to have signed statements from 25 MPs confirming that they will nominate him. Nobody has seen these statements.”

Meacher even believes that Brown’s supporters want to avoid a contest against him because of Brown’s poor record in office:

“But by playing down my support so absurdly and by exaggerating his support beyond anything that is realistic, Gordon Brown’s supporters are certainly making one thing crystal clear: they want to avoid a contest against me at all costs, and for good reason. His record on the environment, inequality, privatisation and PFI, means testing and Trident are all issues on which they fear a challenge from me. If there is to be a contest, they want John McDonnell to be their opponent.

“That is indeed the reason I’m standing – as the one centre-left candidate who can secure enough of the nominations to ensure that a debate does take place about the future direction of the government and that party members do have a choice of their leader, not have one imposed on them.”

In desperation, McDonnell has made this appeal:

“If there is anyone who feels they can exert any influence over Michael Meacher at this stage please do all you can to assist. His behaviour may well mean that we run the risk that no Left candidate gets on the ballot paper.”

How will this undignified row end? It is making Labour a laughing stock.


  1. As my blog points out, John McDonnell is a politician of integrity and commitment who has spent nearly a YEAR travelling the country and speaking to trade union and Party members. He has won huge support from the grassroots.Trade unions like ASLEF have already nominated him. So have groups like the Campaign For Labour Party Democracy, Welsh Labour Grassroots, Campaign For Socialism in Scotland, the T + G Broad Left, Amicus Unity Gazette. In short, he’s backed by thousands . Unfortunately, wjhether he gets to stand or not will depend on the PLP ( most of whom are pretty spineless)Michael Meacher,by way of contrast, has no support at all in the unions or CLPs, no MPwilling to back him publicly. And no credibility AT ALL as a left leadership.
    Throughout the past year, John has conducted his campaign with dignity and integrity.In the face of much sniping andsneering ( I see there is some here ) Meacher’s disgraceful and delusional outpourings would, as my Granny used to say, make the Pope swear. If John is angry he has every right to be. So are thousands of his supporters.Hence our Stand Down Meacher ! campaign. I have been in the Labour Party for 30 years.John McDonnell is the best chance we have had for a generation to get socialism back on the agenda. So, no, we don’t want Meacher to screw it all up.

  2. I like mens sana’s comment No 12 – and Richard, Joke McConell also slipped my mind.

  3. Richard thanks for pointing that out. How illuminating that no-one noticed. I wouldn’t know him from Adam

  4. Ellee, I think you have the wrong picture. The one on the right looks nothing like Joke McConnell!

  5. Let them get on with it. Great fun, but sadly Brown will crush either of them.

    Mind you I think the only thing more frightening than the idea of a Brown premiership is Meacher as PM

  6. All this will only make Gordon Brown walk in. To gain respect, he should call a proper contest.

  7. Eeer sorry Elle,
    couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to say about Meacher and whoever. They’ve had ten years and they’ve shown that they have nothing different or ‘new’ to offer from the old conservatives

  8. I think Gordon Brown is gonna be sweating.

    With Labour losing even more Council seats in local elections, and old labour not only disenfranchised by Blair’s New Labour, it is going to be hard for Gordon Brown to pick-up the baton for the home run at the next general election. What has he got up his sleeve or can he conjure out of his top hat, that will sway the core labour voters back to Labour at the next general election.

    Can’t be fear of letting the Tories in, there is nothing the Tories would do that Blair has not done
    1) Tuition fees & top up fees for HE
    2) Privatisation of the NHS & PFI hospitals
    3) Wholesale (or giveaway) of Council Housing to private Housing Associations.

    Cameron if he last longer than Ian Hague & IDS can probably waltz in by default – with wishy washy noises about the environment & health?

    Give people local power over the Councils – oh yeah – rich!!!
    Rent to mortgage schemes – lol lol lol

  9. We just have to hope they keep at it hammer and tongs.

  10. Hi Mr Admin, yes, I can see what you have done. Thank you, I am always thanking you, and you know I am very grateful.

  11. A little test to see if my avatar now appears in the comments and that the comments still work!

  12. But more importantly, how will the Modernising Medical Careers fiasco affect Labour ??

    Check out the fantastic website below..

    Go on, sign the petition, or Patronising Patsy Hewitt may be inflicting even more terminal damage on the Health Service…

  13. It is interesting to see how they are using the social media for their campaigns, I shall focus in depth on this in another post.

  14. Stephen

    Let us hope nobody stands against that scumbag Brown, and then we can all have the pleasure of watching him lose the next general election. Middle class families like mine have been hit with the biggest tax rise of any major western economy over the last five years and parents with two children are £1,200 worse off through income tax and national insurance. This does not include the +25% increase on water, the +40% on Council Tax, the +58% increase on electricity and the + 91% increase on gas. Never mind the cost of fuel just so I can get to work…something I am going to have to do for a long time to come as Brown has stolen my old age by taking billions from our pensions while lining his own pocket with a gold plated guaranteed pension paid for by the likes of us !!!
    It would not surprise me to see him in a stripey jumper and a mask as he is a bigger conman than Robert Maxwell.
    By the way, I heard on Radio 5 that he addressed a bunch of students yesterday with one trouser leg tucked in his sock. Does this mean:
    a) He is a mason.
    B) He followed David Cameron’s example and cycled to the venue.
    c)Or he is just a big twit.

  15. They are like little boys calling each other names.

  16. How will it end? With them both realising they’re completely wasting their time and pulling out? Quite possibly.

    I must say that I always find this internecine squabbling quite funny. At least I always do, unless someone mentions the words ‘Clarke’ and ‘Charles’ (not necessarily in that order) in connection with the leadership of the Labour Party.

    Then I get scared. Real scared.

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