Breaking news: Benn declares

Apparently flushed out early, Hilary Benn has now told his CLP that he will stand, at least for deputy leader, according to the Independent and the Guardian.

Both papers note that Benn is running as a “New Labour” candidate. The Independent‘s Andy McSmith, who seems to be being briefed directly by Benn’s campaign, reports that he will “be competing with the Education Secretary Alan Johnson for the “loyalist” vote from those who want the Labour Party to stick to the formula that has won them three general elections.”

McSmith goes on to suggest that Benn believes that Harman and Hain are more critical of the government’s current direction than him but will find their support shifting to Jon Cruddas. This would leave him perfectly placed to pick up the mantle of “next generation” Blairite.

However, the Guardian correctly reports that Dennis Skinner will back Benn – the left-wing MP is likely to surprise many by supporting a Brown-Benn ticket. Benn will have to resolve the tensions inevitable in any coalition that stretches from Dennis Skinner to Denis MacShane. 

Whatever your opinion, and The Daily has made clear our own, it’s shaping up to be a fascinating race and we will be reporting the latest and analysing the campaigns throughout.

17 Responses to Breaking news: Benn declares

  1. Benjamin says:

    Hilary Benn:

    He may have given you a girl’s name, but do it for your Dad!

  2. Andrea says:

    Skinner’s backing for Benn….I wonder who the other figures on Labour Left will back. Cruddas? Or will they split among various candidates?

  3. Thomas says:

    Usually when you have a pop it’s good to say “I have always respected person x, but…” Not this time. Skinner has always been a complete muppet, and should never be forgiven for proposing a general strike to the NEC during the miners’ strike. He has always been an idiot, but now he is a tame idiot – the praise from Blair during his conference speech was horrible. That he is now the Campaign Group fig leaf for the Blairite candidate is just par for the course.

  4. […] The Daily leads with the story, here. […]

  5. “However, the Guardian correctly reports that Dennis Skinner will back Benn – the left-wing MP is likely to surprise many by supporting a Brown-Benn ticket.”

    Is Dennis Skinner the last convert to the heriditary principle?

  6. Nick says:

    I was at an event a few months ago where Skinner was expressing support for Beckett as deputy leader. Clearly he has a penchant for back to the future campaigns on this one.

    Skinner is a powerful speaker and everyone loves his Tory-bashing antics in the Commons but I don’t think he’s representative of any opinion other than his own on the leadership or deputy races.

    Nor will it be particularly influential in the PLP, though obviously Benn will be hoping that it will help him appeal to left-wing party members.

  7. Will Parbury says:

    Wasn’t Skinner going to stand down when he reached 65?

  8. HenryG says:

    Benn is a pretty good minister by New Labour standards. However the fact is that by the time he is having to appointed the wretched Campaign Company to run a lot of his campaign suggests he doesn’t have the time to build his own team. And if so short of time for there, where will he fit in the rebuilding of the party if elected?

    All in all I think Jon Cruddas has perhaps slightly gained from Benn standing since it further highlights his unique selling point and weakens Hain and Harman, the former who could now struggle to pick up a fair number of his anticipated nominations. All we need now is for Jack Straw to stand and the right will be fractured even further.

  9. What’s happened to Alan Johnson?

    How could it possibly be that all that fawning media coverage (including a book length interview in The Observer) wasn’t enough to get him the nominations?

    Anyone would think that political hacks didn’t know anything about politics.

  10. Where’s the evidence Skinner is backing Brown? A friend of mine was at an event in Tooting a couple of weeks ago and tells me Skinner publicly backed McDonnell.

  11. Andrea says:

    Johnson seems to have lost the momentum…when the media were busy searching an opponent for Brown, he was hyped and got a lot of coverage.
    But he didn’t seem to have taken the best advantage of it for the deputy race.
    He probably stayed too much “on the fence”.
    And his latest appearances and u-turns probably didn’t help his chances

  12. Nick says:

    I’ve heard Skinner talk about Brown as the man who will be the next PM and discuss the deputy candidates in light of that. I suppose, though, he could support McDonnell but not think he’s going to win. Skinner is a pretty erratic character of course, and may have simply changed his mind.

    Johnson certainly seems to be losing momentum now. He’s tried to spin the mess over faith schools as him listening to backbench opinion in today’s Observer, but that doesn’t seem to be what most MPs thought of it.

    He may have some move in mind to recapture the initiative though. Otherwise Benn will simply eclipse him as the Blairite candidate.

  13. Andrea says:

    According to the Observer even Hazel Blears is set to join the Deputy race…at this point I think I should start a bid too being the only person on earth not entering the race 😕

  14. Nick says:

    Blears is still on 50/1 at William Hill. Clearly they weren’t impressed!

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