Labour leadership race discredited, says MP McDonnell
Published: 18th May 2010 16:12:53
Left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell has accused the party of organising a "discredited" leadership contest.
Mr McDonnell said he wanted to run but would struggle to get the nominations of 33 MPs - required under rules announced on Tuesday - in time.
The MP for Hayes and Harlington said this would exclude many "rank and file" Labour members from choosing him and reduce the chances of a "fresh start".
Only ex-ministers Ed and David Miliband have said they will stand for leader.
The result of the contest is due to be announced on 25 September, Labour's ruling National Executive Committee has decided.
Mr McDonnell, who wanted to stand against Gordon Brown in 2007, but failed to receive enough nominations from MPs, said it was wrong to reduce the period for nominations to four days, from 24 to 27 May.
He said: "We thought that New Labour had learnt its lesson from the coronation of Gordon Brown and wanted a genuinely democratic process this time round.
"By curtailing the nomination process so drastically in this way the whole process is being discredited from the start. Effectively excluding rank and file members of the party in this way will just alienate all those who are looking for a fresh start.
"I will seek to gain sufficient nominations to stand in the hope that Labour MPs will support an open and democratic election."
Former cabinet ministers Ed Balls and Andy Burnham are thought to be weighing up their options amid calls for the contest to be as competitive as possible.
Several senior Labour figures have ruled themselves out, including acting leader Harriet Harman, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson and prominent backbencher Jon Cruddas.
The ballot will take between 16 August and 22 September, with the result being announced on the first day of the party's conference in Manchester.
Hustings will take place in June and July with some backbench MPs pressing for the candidates to square up in a TV debate.
The new leader will be elected by a ballot of Labour MPs, MEPs, party members and members of affiliated organisations such as trade unions and socialist societies.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2010. Labour leadership race discredited, says MP McDonnell [Online] (Updated 18th May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/60525/Labour-leadership-race-discredited-says-MP-McDonnell [Accessed 12th Mar 2014]
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