“I am determined to play a full role in the re-invigoration of a party that stands as the best hope for the people of this country. But to put it simply, that role of rebuilding and energising the party is a job that doesn’t have a vacancy.”
Painter had previously blogged that Labour should have a leadership and deputy contest, calling for Harriet Harman to run for both posts, as acting leader Margaret Beckett did in 1994:
“The party conference should be a hustings conference, not an election conference as the Conservatives did so successfully in 2005. And there should be a Deputy Leadership contest too. This is not just about the leadership, it’s about party renewal too – so a Deputy Leadership contest becomes necessary. And yes, there absolutely should be a female candidate in both the leadership and deputy leadership races, and Harriet Harman – with her record on equalities and increasing the diversity of our MPs in Parliament – should stand as a strong candidate in both.”
I agree with that. Harman should open up a contest for deputy leader, so that the party can choose a deputy team. It would be much better if she would run and open up what risks being a too narrow leadership race too.
A Harman-Cruddas deputy contest focused on mobilising Labour as a campaigning force would energise the party. I think Harman would probably prevail.
Many would also be reluctant to end up with an all-male leadership ticket. That probably makes a good case for having a leadership triumvirate in future, with two deputy leaders, so that - whatever the gender of the leader - the party is guaranteed gender diversity in its leadership team.
Another good option would be to have a Party Chair, elected by Labour members.