How to roll Gordon Brown

June 9th, 2009 at 6:40 pm by David Farrar

Labour’s result of only 15.7% in the European elections has not quite been enough to knock off Gordon Brown, but a challenge still can’t be ruled out.

A reader suggested people may be interested in how the leadership elections work – it is far more complicated than in New Zealand where basically Caucus can change the Leader at any time by an absolute majority.

The rules and process for UK Labour is this:

  1. Nominations – Labour Members of the House of Commons are the only people who can nominate someone to be Leader (or Deputy Leader) and only a Member of the Commons can be nominated.
  2. If there is a vacancy (such as a death as with John Smith or retirement with Tony Blair) then you need at least 12.5% of current MPs nominating you to be validly nominated.
  3. If there is no vacancy (ie you wish to challenge the sitting Leader) you need at least 20% of current MPs nominating you to be validly nominated,
  4. Labour currently has 350 MPs in the Commons. This means you need 70 MPs to nominate you to challenge Brown, or 44 MPs if he resigns.
  5. Supporting nominations can be made by any of the 646 Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), any affiliate (unions generally) or any of the 13 Labour Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)
  6. Then the voting starts. Three different groups get to vote, and they all have equal strength – 1/3 each.
  7. The first group is members of the Parliamentary Labour Party – this is the 350MPs plus the 13 MEPs.
  8. The second group is all members of the Constituency Labour Party (CLPS) – several hundred thousand people. So an MP’s vote counts for a lot more.
  9. The third group is the affiliates – not the union bosses, but the individual members of any affiliates (so long as not members of another party).
  10. The percentage vote for a candidate in each group is totalled up to get a total vote. For example in 1994 Tony Blair got 60.5% of the PLP, 58.2% of the CLPs, and 52.3% of the affiliates.  This gave him a total 57.0% of the vote.
  11. The ballots are preferential, where candidates are ranked from 1 downwards. If no candidates gets 50% combined, then the lowest candidate drops out, and their first preferences reallocated to the next preferences.
  12. For example in the 2007 Deputy Leadership election there were six candidates and no one got over 20% on the first count, so it went through to five rounds until Harriet Harman beat Alan Johnson by 50.4% to 49.6%
  13. Johnson beat Harman due to the membership at large. The PLP backed Johnson by 8% over Harman and the unions by 3%. But members at large favoured Harman by 13%.
  14. The results of the election get announced at the annual or a special conference.

I suspect Brown may survive until the election now, because his supporters are warning MPs that if they force a leadership change, the new leader will be morally obliged to call an immediate general election. But sooner or later the process will kick into play.

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18 Responses to “How to roll Gordon Brown”

  1. tvb (4,418 comments) says:

    I do not know how this spin about an immediate General Election came about. I assume it came from Mandy. Anyhow this faux prospect is enough to stop people from shifting out Gordon, plus the complex voting procedure, plus the canny reshuffle with the pledges of loyalty that were extracted before the reshuffle was completed – did the trick. The Tory voting procedure that was used against Margaret was actually stacked against her. Margaret Thatcher must be marveling at the political skill that has been adopted to keep Gordy in place.

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  2. Barnsley Bill (983 comments) says:

    David, the harsh reality is that upwards of a third of these labour MP’s are going to be unemployed the day after an election. They will not roll him because the music will stop.
    He bullied his way into the job and if there were any justice in this world he would be sharing the dock with Tony Blair at the Hague. There are ill equipped British troops being killed while this disgusting fucker is gorging on the trough. Meanwhile at home the families of these troops are living in damp sub standard accommodation while he and his minions are rorting the expenses systems to buy porn and fake tudor beams.
    This regime will go down as the worst in living memory.

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  3. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Sounds totally fucked as a voting system DPF.

    Why don’t the British Labour Party (and other parties here and in the UK) open it up to a democratic vote delegated by all Party members at an annual conference, as the Greens here do?

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  4. Rakaia George (313 comments) says:

    I’m with my fellow ex-pat all the way…the sight of Kinnock (G) as yet another unelected trougher in the cabinet makes me sick to the pit of my stomach…instant response to the title though was “Shove him down the hill after the cheese…”

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  5. David Farrar (1,894 comments) says:

    The UK Conservative Party do it that way – democratic vote of all members.

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  6. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    DPF

    Of more relevance is how do National MPs roll John Key? Perhaps you could set up the procedure. I suspect that there will be a need to find a new leader in the near future.

    Key has stuffed up the selection of the Mt Albert candidate, instead of selecting a winner he has handed the seat to Labour.

    Key has stuffed up the handling of Worth. Worth needed to have been summarily ditched over the edge, instead of this nobody knows what Worth has been dumped for, or if it was appropriate, or if it was for sexual misconduct or texting misconduct.

    And the budget has left everyone underwhelmed. If it was not for Lee or for Worth there would be a hell of an outcry because nothing is being done for the current economic predicament we are in.

    Kiwis would be keen to find out how to change the current PM.

    [DPF: off topic 10 demerits]

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  7. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    I’d suggest that there’s another way:

    Confidence motion in the House of Commons.
    Labour members join with Conservatives and vote no confidence in the Brown Government.
    Get someone with sufficient support in the House and have them advise the Queen they have sufficient support to form a government.
    Form a government.

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  8. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    “Kiwis would be keen to find out how to change the current PM.”

    unfortunately for you the polls dont support your claim mickey

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  9. mickysavage (786 comments) says:

    Patrick

    Check out the poll results for Mt Albert, both the candidate support and the Party vote support …

    [DPF: Are you just pretending to be that ignorant about polls?]

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  10. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    If you wanted to make your candidates life hell in a by-election you announce a motorway right through the electorate at the same time as a you announce a controversial supercity just before releasing a budget where you remove tax cuts
    All necessary, but bound to be unpopular with the average Mt Albert voter.

    BTW – I see Russel Norman stated today he wants to come second in Mt Albert. Can we expect to see that in the headlines over the next 2 weeks?

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  11. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    Mickysavage are you fucking stupid? Labour is doing so fabulously in the polls. Yeah right. I suggest the only one that will be rolled is Phil Goff. Of course you’re such a stupid idiot you actually believe the shit you make up. So Labour is going to get a new electorate MP in Mt. Albert. No real surprise. Sure we on the right would prefer if it is closer than the polls suggest. But no one seriously thought Lee would win the seat. The idea that the Worth scandal will hurt National in the polls is quite simply absurd. As for the budget. Sure it isn’t a great budget. But if you haven’t forgotten we’re in a recession at the moment. What I do know is that people can only put up with so much moaning by the left about the budget. Eventually, they’ll just turn off. Polls will stay steady for National. You’ll scream about it being a one-off. But then you are a fucking idiot.

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  12. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    “No one seriously thought Lee would win the seat”

    Do I sense the tune has changed?

    Hurting Gingercrush? cos that long rant suggests a very troubled little soul.

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  13. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    Oh yes I’m hurting badly. I’ve just watched for more than six months we’ve witnessed the stupidity of the left. For you see we were told that Labour was going to get back in at the election. Hell we had some stupid people on the left try and tell us that one day New Zealanders would wake up to this extreme-right National Party. Every damn week the left have come up with some stupid story of how the poll numbers are going to start going their way. How New Zealanders had woken up etc etc etc. Every month we’ve seen the National Party do well in the polls. We’ve seen Labour do well pathetic. We’ll also continue to see Labour do pathetic.

    Name a National supporter in the media who said Lee would win Mt. Albert. Go on name them. Name any of the top right-wing bloggers who said Melissa Lee would win? Go on name them. That is right you can’t. Mt. Albert was always going to be a hard seat for us to win.

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  14. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    (((BTW – I see Russel Norman stated today he wants to come second in Mt Albert. Can we expect to see that in the headlines over the next 2 weeks?)))

    Second would be a first for Storeman Norman… And you can be sure to here it for the next few days right up to till June 15th… when it could then be a real possibility… 15% and rising is not far of 21% and declining… when a week in politics is a long time.

    I still wonder who votes Green… if they really are Green. The Greens 15% rating in the Mt Albert labour seat strong hold must be the socialist Sue Braford Greens.

    I disagree with DPF… Gordon Brown is dead in the water without a paddle heading for the waterfall… and he will fall.. I predict at a soon to be held special Labour conference and not later than Labours annual conference. Labour MPs already nearly have the numbers to oust him… (excuse the pun).

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  15. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    How to roll Gordon Brown? In honey just before he’s staked out over a colony of fire ants. Because God knows the NHS isn’t going to give the Parliamentary Labour Party spine implants any time soon. Meanwhile, I have a funny feeling that the only person really happy right now is David Cameron. With an enemy like Brown, who needs friends?

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  16. s.russell (1,641 comments) says:

    If Gordon Brown’s sole objective was to completely destroy the UK Labour Party he couldn’t be doing a better job than he is right now. It is hard to understand why so many of the party’s MPs continue to support him.

    Sadly, Barnsley Bill may be right. Many of them know they will lose whoever the leader is, so they go for the leader who will keep their snouts in the trough for the maximum 11 months, rather than a new leader who may go to the polls sooner (and get a better result thereby).

    Or, maybe the ones who are sure of being re-elected anyway (holding very safe seats) just want to see the back of all their (often more moderate) colleagues so they can seize control of the party for themselves.

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  17. Right of way is Way of Right (1,122 comments) says:

    I ask you, why would anyone in the UK Labour party who is in their right mind want to roll Gordon Brown to get their hands on THAT poisoned chalice!!

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  18. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    It’s a case of a failed government going through the motions. Exactly like NZ Labour in its third term in New Zealand.

    UK Labour is about to announce its proposals for constitutional reform even though there is no time left to implement any of it before they get booted out of office.

    The other funny news story, the NHS is predicting massive funding deficits by 2011 despite a TRIPLING of its budget since 1997. What a joke!!

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