Johnson set to declare tomorrow

The Daily is led to believe by usually reliable sources that Alan Johnson is set to announce that he is standing for deputy leader – but not leader – at tomorrow’s press gallery lunch.  Though theoretically under Chatham House rules, gallery lunches are notoriously leaky – so leaky in fact, that this has been leaked to us before it even happened.

Johnson is set to appear on Andrew Marr’s show this Sunday and will publicly declare his intentions then, but may try to maximise media exposure with something in advance.

The announcement will end the long-running saga of whether Johnson dared to stand for leader against Brown.  It seems his campaign will be adopting the motto “Who doesn’t dare, wins” by sticking to the second spot, a decision that leaves the right wing of the deputy race increasingly crowded.

Update: Harry Perkins, who seems well sourced within the Campaign Group, reports that Michael Meacher is also set to declare tomorrow – though he is making a formal launch annoucement and it’s for the top job, unlike Johnson.  This would leave Meacher and McDonnell battling it out for nominations on the left, with a general assumption being that whoever falls short will back the other.

Further update: The Telegraph today run with the story on Johnson’s anticipated withdrawal from the leadership race and add that Meacher is now playing down suggestions that he will announce a bid at the launch of what is described as his “Labour’s Big Change” campaign today.

12 Responses to Johnson set to declare tomorrow

  1. HenryG says:

    If I was Number Ten I’d bang a few heads together. Benn, Blears and Johnson risk cancelling each other out in terms of nominations and momentum. From my perspective as a Jon Cruddas supporter, this is terrific news. I wonder how embarrassing it would be if the CWU didn’t back their old Gen Sec. Could certainly challenge a few lazy journalist’s thinking of the boy.

  2. Has anyone got a spare life jacket?

    I’ve just looked out to sea and I’ve noticed that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland/Wales/Orange County seems to be sinking at a alarming rate.

  3. el tom says:

    Meacher for leader, as opposed to deputy, I assume?

  4. Jo Malik says:

    Michael Meacher’s a joke. This is why the hard left will never get anywhere. As far as unions backing for Johnson, Unison and the CWU are set to come out for him, with the GMB, Amicus and T & G going for Cruddas so yes, his entry is very good news for Cruddas as it will drain votes for all the people you mentioned plus Hain.

  5. Benjamin says:

    Blimey. There are so many people running now, I might as well throw my hat into the ring.

  6. HenryG says:

    What I think a Johnson candidacy would also do is nudge more Brownites toward nominating Cruddas. They don’t trust Johnson and having waited so long for Gordon, they’re not going to want to be looking over their shoulder. Even if Johnson behaves himself, the media would be forever looking for splits. Much better for Gordon to have Cruddas who offers no threat in terms of personal ambition, and appoint a DPM he can work with, if have one at all.

  7. HenryG says:

    Hilary Benn’s interview with Jackie Ashley suggest that he’ll be right-wing and boring as everyone suspects.

    http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,,1943066,00.html

  8. Benjamin says:

    Quite an entertaining piece by Ashley. It was amusing when she said:

    “There is the heroin addiction, of course. Only joking”

  9. Benjamin says:

    I don’t think Johnson is leadership material, either now or in the future. He’s had his 15 minutes of fame.

  10. trafficOne says:

    everyone is talking about the deputy leader job. what about the Deputy PM role. who is the best candidate for this. I look forward to a reply from the Cruddas camp.

  11. Nick says:

    I’m not sure that anyone here speaks for the “Cruddas camp” even though some of us are fans of his. The DPM will obviously be appointed by the new leader and we don’t have a vote on it, which I imagine is why it hasn’t been much debated.

  12. Well the DPM will either be appointed or not appointed by the next leader. There doesn’t necessary have to be one.

    For the nine years we’ve had John Prescott in the official role as DPM while Gordon Brown has actually been the second most powerful man in the government.

    On that basis, it’s unclear what value the title DPM has beyond the PM giving that title to the person that the Labour Party has elected as deputy.

    If Cruddas is elected as Deputy Leader but doesn’t want to be DPM then there’s a strong argument for just abolishing the role and nominating the Chancellor or Foreign Secretary to deputise at PMQs when the PM’s away.

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