The Daily can exclusively reveal today that Clare Short does not intend to stand for re-election in her Birmingham Ladywood seat.
In a controversial speech to an academic symposium this afternoon, she said that she wanted to be free to advocate a hung parliament so that the Lib Dems could “do a deal” to ensure PR. She did not specify that the deal would be with Labour, and pointedly noted that “PR is now in the objective interests of the Conservatives”. She expected to see “the Labour Party crumble as the Tories did [in 1997]” but a social democratic party to rise from the ashes.
Of the Government in which she served for six years she said, “it will be viewed as a failure, a historic wasted opportunity” and attributed to Gordon Brown the explanation that, “the only two Departments that are not run out of Number Ten are DfID and the Treasury”.
There will be an all women shortlist for the selection of a new Labour candidate in Birmingham Ladywood, which has always been regarded as one of Labour’s safest seats, though there was a significant swing against Short in 2005 and the boundaries have been redrawn.
Birmingham is already likely to see a controversial selection season, with three sitting MPs covering the full spectrum of West Midlands Labour politics – Government Whip Steve McCabe, old right former GMB official Roger Godsiff and Campaign Grouper Lynne Jones – fighting it out for the two redrawn seats of Hall Green and Selly Oak.
If Short openly advocates voting against Labour candidates, she is open to disciplinary action that will include expulsion from the Party.