UK Politics

Four Labour deputy candidates: Ed and Harriet must nominate

Ed Miliband Image copyright PA

Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman should reverse their decisions not to nominate candidates in the Labour deputy leadership race, according to four of the would-be contenders.

Tom Watson has joined Ben Bradshaw, Angela Eagle and Rushanara Ali in calling for all MPs to have a say.

They say those who abstain from the process make it harder for candidates to get on the ballot paper.

Would be deputy leaders need the nominations of 35 Labour MPs to stand.

So far only two have reached the figure: Tom Watson and Caroline Flint.

Four others vying for the job have until Wednesday to get the required support.

'Considerable dissatisfaction'

Mr Miliband, who stood down as leader after being defeated in the general election and Ms Harman, his interim replacement, have both made it clear they will not nominate candidates.

Neither will Labour's chief whip Rosie Winterton, whips Alan Campbell and Mark Tami, deputy speakers Lindsay Hoyle and Natasha Engel, nor the chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party John Cryer.

Mr Bradshaw said: "A number of MPs have also made clear they will nominate someone to help them get on the ballot, even though they won't support them in the actual election.

"Under these circumstances it would surely be appropriate for colleagues who usually don't nominate because of their positions to do so while making clear a nomination does not constitute an endorsement."

He said there is "considerable dissatisfaction" among members that they will be offered a narrow range of candidates.

'Only hope'

John Healey withdrew from the contest yesterday citing similar concerns, freeing his 20 supporters to back other candidates.

Ms Ali has 15 nominations. Mr Bradshaw and Miss Eagle have 18 each.

Of 232 Labour MPs only 165 have nominated a candidate for the deputy leadership.

Others in Labour take a different view.

One figure involved in the contest said: "If someone's only hope is relying on Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband their problem is they can't rely on anyone else from the Parliamentary Labour Party."

While acting as interim leader in 2010, Ms Harman nominated Diane Abbott to ensure a woman got onto the ballot paper.

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