Wednesday 6 May 2009

Mr Draper departs

Tomorrow's Guardian confirms that Derek Draper has resigned as editor of LabourList in the wake of the smears scandal which has rocked the government and Labour Party.

Deputy editor Alex Smith will take over as editor. I have received a message from Alex tonight saying that he has signed the ethic of progressive blogging statement published by Next Left and various Labour blogs after the scandal. Which sounds a good start.

The Guardian reports:

Friends of Draper said he had consulted widely over past the two weeks on whether to remain editor, and the bulk of the advice was to resign. But they insisted "he jumped and was not pushed".

Ministers had boycotted the site for the past fortnight, and the party had cut Draper loose after the episode which engulfed Brown and left No 10 mired in claims of dirty tricks and sleaze.


He also admitted he got the tone of LabourList wrong sometimes "being too strident, aggressive and obsessed with the blogosphere." Draper got embroiled in furious rows with other bloggers. He said it had become clear "my continued editorship can only detract from what LabourList needs to do now".

Draper will concentrate on his therapy practice and limit his politics to delivering leaflets for his local party. It is the second time he has had to quit frontline Labour politics. In 1998 he was embroiled in controversy over lobbying.

Derek Draper has himself circulated a message to contributors saying

"There should be a small story in tomorrow's Guardian saying I have passed the editorship of LabourList to my deputy Alex Smith. My words are on The Guardian website now and are self-explanatory. Just to emphasise again how sorry I am for my part in it all and here's to a successful future for LabourList. Please give it and Alex all the support you can".

Several LabourList contributors, including David Chaplin and Steve Race, have suggested that the site should now take a different approach, including doing more to act as one hub for the broader Labour and left blogosphere.

It will undoubtedly take some time for LabourList to get it right - but Next Left looks forward to contributing to its attempts to contribute to the debates we need on the left.

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