London Labour MPs Get Stuck In

By Craigie_B Last edited 127 months ago
London Labour MPs Get Stuck In

If only Londonist had a political crystal ball.

We've done a quick-and-dirty analysis of this weekend's disquiet on the Labour benches with Gordon Brown/the direction of the Labour party/the lack of an open debate about leadership/whatever-you-want-to-call-the-current-media-bun-fight, and it seems to us that the revolt is being led by MPs who are a) from London; and b) women.

So, first off, we had Siobhain McDonagh (MP for Mitcham and Morden) lose her government whip's job after calling for nomination papers to be sent out for the leadership. Joan Ryan (MP for Enfield North) backed Siobhain's position and subsequently lost her jobs as party vice-chair and the PM's envoy to Cyprus. She was followed in turn by Fiona MacTaggart (MP for Slough, bordering London) who went on Sky News to call for "change". Unlike the first two, Fiona had no job to lose as she hasn't been a Minister for over two years. Barry Gardiner MP appears to have also joined this group as the first male - although he, too, represents a London constituency (Brent North).

Less directly, an article jointly penned for Progress Magazine called for a "new narrative", but this is now being connected with the leadership discussion. Signatories include Karen Buck (MP for Regent's Park and Kensington North) and Martin Linton (MP for Battersea).

It's not all one-way traffic, though. The new vacancy caused by Siobhain has been filled by promoting Dawn Butler (MP for Brent South), which should lead to interesting debates in North-East London with Barry Gardiner as the next door MP. She is joined by Emily Thornberry (MP for Islington South and Finsbury) who was one of the most vocal critics of Siobhain this weekend, backing Gordon to the hilt.

So what explains this London-led, female-dominated revolt and what does it mean for the future? Well, Parliament is in recess, so unlike their nation-wide counterparts, London MPs are here and nearer to London-based national media. The group of MPs are also more likely to work together on issues and campaigns, so any push based on unhappiness in their local parties and constituencies is likely to come from a group like this.

But, whatever happens next, London MPs - and especially our women representatives - are really getting stuck in. And while we don't want to cast aspersions, does this latest move, led by London's women MPs bode well for the leadership fortunes of London's most senior women MPs Harriet Harman or Tessa Jowell?

Crystal Ball pic from megabn's Flickrstream

Last Updated 14 September 2008