Would a Johnson challenge cost the party a million?

Would a Johnson challenge cost the party a million?


    Is Alan being put under pressure over the cost of an election?

It is my understranding that a lot of pressure is being put on Alan Johnson and other potential Labour leadership challengers not to stand because of the cost to the cash-starved party of running a contested election.

A figure of £1m to mount an election is being bandied about and given the job cut-backs that Labour is having to impose the pressure on potential challengers not to stand is quite great.

The problem for those making this argument is that there will have to be a national election of the three parts of the electoral college for the Deputy Leadership where several figures have announced that they are standing. So if a contested election is going to happen to find John Prescott’s successor then it is not going to cost much more the a vote on the leader’s job.

    The only way that Labour can save its million pounds – if that indeed is the cost – would be for both elections to go uncontested. Could it be that in return for giving a free-run for Brown for the leadership that Johnson would get the Deputy slot without facing a challenge?

Meanwhile the detailed data from today’s YouGov poll provides very little comfort for the Chancellor. When the “best PM DC or GB?” question was asked only 75% of the Labour voters said Brown with 12% going for Cameron. In last week’s poll the split was 79-10 when the same point was put.

The data also shows an increase over a week in the number of people saying that Brown would be a bad Prime Minister. Seven days ago the group split 30 – 38 against Brown. Today’s figures are 30 – 43.

Clearly Brown is a very strong favourite to get the job – but if I was betting on him I would be ultra-concerned about these poll figures. He desperately needs some positive opinion poll news.

Latest leadership prices are here.

Mike Smithson

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