Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Next Labour Leader ?

 Image result for Labour Leadership Contestants

The BBC reports that the candidates for the Labour Leadership have obtained the following endorsements from Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs).

Corbyn 152, Burnham 111, 106 Cooper, 18 Kendle. See here.

That amounts to a total of 387 endorsements. But there are many more CLPs than that.

There is a Labour Party operating in Northern Ireland, but it does not have a constituency structure. As there are 650 parliamentary seats in the UK as a whole, when we deduct the 18 Northern Ireland seats from these we arrive at 632 for Britain. In a few cases CLPs may be virtually moribund and may not have met to consider the issue of endorsements. My own CLP met, but when the issue of endorsement was raised it unanimously accepted that it would not pursue the matter.

245 CLPs have failed to give support to any of the candidates. Yet it is reasonable to assume that at the very least 200 of these have enough of an organisational structure to have submitted supportive endorsements if they had wished to. 

So something over a third of reasonably effective CLPs have failed to submit endorsements. This places a question mark over the significance of the BBC's figures. In any case endorsements tell us only a limited bit of the story. They are not votes - for these an in the hands of individual members, those recruited for voting purposes by their affiliated Trade Unions and those otherwise signed up as Labour supporters.  CLPs are also made up mainly of delegates appointed by members who attend Branch Meetings or local meetings of affiliated bodies. Unfortunately, the great bulk of Labour Party members don't attend such meetings.

So Corbyn's lead in CLP endorsements, seems to indicate that he has the express support of something in the range of the majority of a quarter of those who attend Labour Party Meetings. There is still a big question as to whether this support will influence the silent majority or is reflective of its views.

Jeremy does, however, seem to have a clear advantage in the contest - the enthusiasm of many of his supporters.


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