But what if he didn’t get an overwhelming endorsement?
An idea is emerging within the Labour Party that there should be a leadership election this summer – even if Gordon is the only person who manages to get the required 45 MPs to nominate him. The plan is that alongside the Deputy Leadership election that is sure to take place that those with votes should also be asked to to “give their affirmation” to Gordon.
It was touched on in one paragraph in the Guardian which said that the NEC is making provisions in the rules for the possibility of “a simple affirmative ballot to make the contest democratic”.
The deputy ballots are going to have to be mailed out anyway so including an endorsement option would not add to the costs and it might help negate some of the downside if there was no contest.
The big danger, of course, would be if the new leader and Prime Minister did not get overwhelming support. What would be an acceptable performance? Anything less than 90% might be problematic.
Such a process, as well, smacks a touch of the old Soviet style approach to democracy and lends itself open a bit to ridicule. It would also draw attention to the lack of serious contenders.
The plan would deal, however, with the potentially odd period when everybody knows that Gordon is going to take over but all is put on hold until the Deputy contest has been resolved. For it is thought that the date that Tony Blair sets for his departure will be one that assumes that an election process will take place.
All this is depedent, of course, on no other challenger being able to get enough other MPs to sign the nomination. The latest betting price on Gordon is 0.2/1.