Breaking news: Short to quit party

News is now coming in that Clare Short is expected to resign from the Labour Party today and announce that she intends to sit as an independent MP for the remainder of the Parliament.

This follows her decision over summer, as revealed exclusively on The Daily, that she would not stand again at the next general election, in order to campaign for a hung parliament and PR.

Update: The BBC now have confirmation from Clare Short’s office that she has resigned and intends to cross the floor and sit as an independent MP for the remainder of this parliament. Her resignation letter is here.

The resignation will reduce the nominal Labour majority in the Commons to 64 and the “real” majority to 70 but it will also be a setback to leadership challenger John McDonnell, who will have been hoping for Short’s nomination to help him obtain the 44 required.

29 Responses to Breaking news: Short to quit party

  1. Andrea says:

    According to Epolitix.com, she has already written Mme Dominatrix about her decision to resign the Labour Whip

    I think it’s the best solution for all

  2. HenryG says:

    It will surely be a matter of time before she follows Blunkett’s tawdry move of writing her memoirs and undermining the party and Government for a quick buck. I don’t think she will be missed.

  3. Andrea says:

    Henry, I thought she has already written her memoirs!

    Btw, the whips’ office is now saying they don’t know anything about her situation…

  4. Nick says:

    She recently published her book An Honourable Deception? but I’m not sure if it was a memoir or not.

  5. HenryG says:

    I clearly missed it, though I’m sure she’ll find a way to sink lower.

  6. Andrea says:

    According to BBC, her office confirmed it….why the whips office (which should know things first) seems to be the last one to discover them?!

  7. Both the Whips and the Regional Office have had a pretty distant relationship with Short for some time now.

    We understand that the Party apparatus could not contact Short for some time after The Daily first broke the story of her decision to step down and she did not return calls, nor had she informed them of her intention in advance.

    One can only assume that her resignation letter is still somewhere in Parliament’s internal mail system.

  8. Nick says:

    It does make me suspect that she’d hoped to be expelled precisely so that she could become a cause celebre, and that her planned failed so she had to resign separately.

    She must have had this in mind when she first made her announcement about standing down and campaigning for a hung parliament.

  9. el tom says:

    I wonder if she’ll join RESPECT…?

  10. “She recently published her book An Honourable Deception?”

    Yes, although strangely this wasn’t the story of her decision to stand as a Labour candidate in 2005.

    “Both the Whips and the Regional Office have had a pretty distant relationship with Short for some time now.”

    Yes, although it’s not quite as distant as her relationship with reality.

    I don’t know whether all political careers really do end in failure but it Short’s case, it’s a self-inflicted failure of tragi-comic proportions.

    A real shame because I still reckon her heart’s in the right place.

  11. Tim Swift says:

    I think Nick is probably right in suspecting that she was hopoing to be expelled and made a martyr of.

    I like the quote in the Evening Standard that “She is seen to have already lost much of her credibility among party members.”. Seems like a bit of an understatement to me!

    If Tony Blairs’ actions in going to war over Iraq are her reason for leaving the party, then how could she with any decency have stood as a Labour candidate in 2005?

    The women is both a joke and a disgrace.

  12. Yes, although strangely this wasn’t the story of her decision to stand as a Labour candidate in 2005.
    😀 This is a fair point – it is barely more than a year since Short stood and was elected as a Labour candidate. What has happened since then to justify resignation?

    A real shame because I still reckon her heart’s in the right place.

    The problem, I fear, is in her head…

  13. media scum says:

    I suspect from the careful wording at the end of her letter, she wishes to remain as an individual LP member – although i think her stance could lead to disciplinary action from the NEC against her as an individual. Sky, incidentally, aare saying that hse ‘hasn’t ruled out running again as an independent’ I might be cynical but given the fact that (a) she has fallen out with her CLP, and (b) that B’hm is undergoing big constituency boundary changes, this is a convenient bolthole……..

  14. Andrea says:

    I think the “hasn’t rules out running as an independent” line was taken from last month’s hung parliament claims…When asked about standing as an independent she replied “improbable, but who knows”
    Today’s letter stressed a couple of times the “remaining time as an MP” part which sounds a bit like she knows that her time as an MP isn’t that long.

  15. Short says:
    “The previous chief whip tried to use her authority to stop me discussing the fact that the prime minister engaged in a series of half-truths and deceits to get us to war in Iraq. You focus on my views on electoral reform.”

    Far be if from me to defend the chief whip but I as far as I’ve noticed, her position on Short’s recent antics has generally hovered somewhere between tolerant and disinterested.

  16. Andrea says:

    I see that the Ladywood CLP chairman has commented on the press…he said he wasn’t surprised, that CS supported “much of what the Government is doing” and that the local party “continue to support the work of the Labour Government even if Clare no longer feels she can”

    The comments aren’t as harsh as they could have been

  17. Gregg says:

    it will also be a setback to leadership challenger John McDonnell, who will have been hoping for Short’s nomination to help him obtain the 44 required

    I find that highly unlikely, given the very bad blood between Short and the SCG. She certainly wouldn’t have nominated McDonnell while Meacher’s a candidate.

  18. Andrea says:

    LOL at The Times…their headline is “Clare Short’s fesignation letter in full”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2414013,00.html

    let’s see how much they’ll keep it online before spotting the typo

  19. HenryG says:

    Not as good as the typo earlier this week that has Peter Hain as a declared support of Jon Cruddas!

  20. Andrea says:

    yes, that one was priceless! 🙂

  21. Nick says:

    The Times may be the new Grauniad…

  22. There seems to be an informal agreement on the left that whoever gets the most support will be the candidate, and others will swing behind that person; so McDonnell would have hoped than when he got more support than Meacher, as seems inevitable, Meacher would keep his side of the bargain and bring his backers in behind McDonnell, including Short.

    At one stage Short was expected to back Brown, but I don’t think anyone thought that was still the case recently.

  23. It’s ironic that Short is the very person who was wheeled out for the NEC to defend the leadership decision not to endorse the candidacy of Liz Davies in Leeds North East. At the time she attacked her for being an “oppositionist”.

  24. I think she should quit and have a bye-election (and Labour should put up Liz Davies as its candidate).

    That would be really ironic.

    Unfortunately, I can’t see Labour or Liz Davies going for it.

  25. Andrea says:

    I suppose Labour is hoping she won’t quit and cause a byelection…Libdems are just 20% behind and they’re the master of byelections.

    Liz Davis isn’t in Labour Party anymore IIRC.

  26. No, she was briefly the leader (of sorts) of the Socialist Alliance. Not sure where she is now.

  27. Sham says:

    Short to marry Galloway, a match made in hell!

  28. wot, does this mean we can’t expel her from the Party?

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