Is Riddell’s interpretation of the Blair timing correct?

Is Riddell’s interpretation of the Blair timing correct?

    Could Blair announce his resignation to take place six weeks later?

There’s been a lot of interest amongst Blair departure date punters about what the “officially ceasing to be Labour Leader” actually means. This is the term that Betfair use in their market rules and punters who watched what how the betting exchange dealt the US mid-term results are naturally nervous.

Peter Riddell had some interesting thoughts in the Times on how this would work which to me sound quite sensible and would cover any ambiguity for Betfair.

This is how he describes it: On Friday May 4, or maybe the next Monday, Mr Blair would trigger a contest by resigning as Labour leader. The resignation would not take effect until the completion of the election for the deputy’s post even if the leadership is not contested. This would all take about six weeks. This period would cover both the G8 summit in Germany, which is being held earlier than usual on June 6 to 8, and the EU summit on June 21 to 22…On this timetable, Mr Blair would return from the EU summit and resign formally in time for Mr Brown to have about four weeks to form his new government and set out his new approach before the start of the long parliamentary recess in late July.”

So there would be a resignation announcement that would take effect, say, six-seven weeks after Blair’s big statement. So it would be then, after that period, when he would “officially cease” to be leader. To me this seems right and plausible.

The problem for punters still trying to choose between a Q2 and a Q3 date – the two segments in the Betfair market – is that this could happen at the end of June or in early July – so in once sense we are not any wiser.

Mike Smithson

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