Has the left-winger been helped by the Trident rebellion?
A comment on today’s thread by Pimpernel, who is usually well-informed about Labour affairs, suggests that the left-winger who was first to declare for the leadership, John McDonnell, looks set to get the required 44 nominations to be on the ballot alongside Brown.
Pimpernel wrote: “I was told last night that John McDonnell is almost certain now to get enough nominations to stand, but that Meacher is likely to fall short. This was from a Brown supporter who is close to the PLP.”
Clearly this week’s big rebellion over Trident has made many in the left and centre left to be even more determined that Brown should face a challenge when the contest is launched in a few weeks time. There was a hint in January that McDonnell was doing quite well getting the required level of MP support and the signs are that he might be successful.
McDonnell great strength over the other left-winger to declare, Michael Meacher, is that he was totally opposed to the Iraq war. Meacher voted for it and his comments about “bitterly regretting the decision” ring rather hollow.
If, indeed, this latest information is correct and Brown will be challenged the question is whether one or more other contenders would find it easier to come in. Who knows? But getting onto the ballot, if this is what McDonnell is now able to do, will change the whole race.
Whatever any confirmation that McDonnell is certain to run will see a big tightening in his betting price. Clearly his chances of beating Gordon are not great but his price will surely move in from the current 169/1. I’ve put on a bit more.