Can her leadership ambitions survive the Euros?
Both in terms of betting opportunities and political intrigue, the Labour leadership will be the “gift that keeps giving” for the next eighteen months and maybe more. Today’s instalment is the news that Harriet has been lined up to run Labour’s campaign for the June Euro-elections. Labour secured less than 23% at the 2004 elections, one of the worst scores for a governing party in Europe, and are in serious danger of doing even worse this time, possibly even under 20%.
The Guardian story highlights the fact that it will be Harman, “…rather than the cabinet’s election co-ordinator, Douglas Alexander, the local government secretary Hazel Blears or the party’s most proven electoral strategist, Peter Mandelson…” who will be in charge and thus in the firing line if the results are bad.
So, will this be a fatal blow to Harman’s leadership chances, or can she still survive as a major contender if Labour go down to a heavy defeat? The Euros have also been marked down as the last trigger event to unseat Gordon before the general election, so should there be a putsch against the PM in the wake of a Euro-disaster, this would be especially poor timing for Harriet.
Over at the Coffee House blog, James Forsyth wonders why Balls isn’t being punished for his leadership ambitions, while an article there earlier this week looked at the possibility of a Cruddas-Purnell ticket to stop Balls.
Harman is a best-priced 10/3 for the leadership, with Purnell at 8/1, Balls at 10s and Cruddas available at 12 – latest prices are here.