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Jack Straw rules out running for Labour Party leader

Category: Politics

Published: 13th May 2010 09:38:23

Former Justice Secretary Jack Straw has ruled himself out of the running for the Labour leadership contest.

Mr Straw, who retained his Blackburn parliamentary seat, also refused to back any candidate until after the formal hustings.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Labour lost the election "in England" mainly because working-class voters felt "disconnected" from his party.

So far only fellow MP David Miliband has openly declared his candidacy.

Arguments

Mr Straw said he had had a "good innings", having spent 13 years on the government front bench and he could not be persuaded to run.

He said he wanted to first hear the arguments the potential leaders made about where the Labour Party was heading before making his decision.

"I want to see, bluntly, how they do in the hustings - what arguments they're making about the future of the Labour Party and I think that's appropriate, if you like, for somebody of my experience and background," he said.

He said the party had had a generally successful record - and that had been recognised by the new Prime Minister David Cameron - but he also admitted "mistakes" had been made.

He said it was no time for members to be resting on their "New Labour" laurels.

'Poor result'

He said: "We lost the election in England, not elsewhere, amongst so-called decent hard-working families who felt, especially working-class people, disconnected from the Labour Party.

"We've done a great deal, as it were, for that group in terms of social welfare, education and so on, but they felt this argument about fairness quite strongly."

He defended Gordon Brown and said the former prime minister had not been to blame for all the problems that had afflicted the party.

"Given all the problems which he did not invent like the world economic crisis and the expenses scandal, the way we managed to come back off the ropes was very good although [the election] was still a poor overall result.

"But we are in much better spirits and heart as a parliamentary party and in terms of numbers than ever I anticipated."

Former Foreign Secretary Mr Miliband became the first potential candidate to announce plans to stand following Mr Brown's resignation.

Mr Miliband is planning to visit Harrow and Worcester on Thursday to generate further support for his campaign and find out from voters why they rejected his party at the election.

There has been a great deal of speculation around Westminster that his brother Ed, along with fellow former cabinet colleagues, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, are also set to announce their bid for the leadership role.

Backbench Labour MP John Cruddas, who came third in Labour's 2007 deputy leadership contest, has also said he is thinking about standing.

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BBC News, 2010. Jack Straw rules out running for Labour Party leader [Online] (Updated 13th May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/59195/Jack-Straw-rules-out-running-for-Labour-Party-leader [Accessed 31st Aug 2014]

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