Labour leader David Shearer is facing more destabilising rumours after batting off speculation all day that a letter of no confidence was being circulated among his MPs.
The rumour started circulating early in the day yesterday but the MPs named as being behind the move hotly denied it and Shearer said through a spokesman there had been no letter and the claims were rubbish.
Soundings among party insiders suggested there was no push on but the latest speculation will not help his leadership after earlier rumours of a leadership push before the end of the year.
The latest speculation followed a series of Labour crisis meetings over a so-called “man ban” in proposed changes to party selection rules which were withdrawn yesterday following a backlash from Labour’s MPs.
The rumours centred on a no confidence letter supposedly circulated by Labour MPs Clayton Cosgrove, Andrew Little and Shane Jones, but all three rubbished it.
Someone at The Standard said what they had heard was Little would stand for Leader with Jones as his deputy.
Cosgrove said the rumours had been started by National and told Fairfax the speculation was “absolute crap”.
He was 100 per cent behind Shearer’s leadership.
Little and Jones also flatly denied the letter.
Jones said he had seen no letter and no one had approached him to sign any letter.
Little is understood to have approached Shearer earlier to give him an assurance he had not been destabilising his leadership.
Insiders were saying there was no discussion about a no confidence motion during Monday’s caucus.
Reports from inside the David Cunliffe camp said he had contacted Shearer to assure him he was not behind any of the rumours and was not moving against him.
The old saying is it is never official until it is denied – as Kevin Rudd did. Rudd denied he would challenge right up until two hours before he did.
As I said last night, I don’t think there is currently a letter. However it is clear there is a destabilisation campaign underway. Just two weeks ago we heard a Labour MP telling both One News and Three News reporters that Shearer had 60 days.
An Auckland Labour source suggested the aim was to replace the current leadership with Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, former party president Andrew Little and David Cunliffe in the finance role.
The unity ticket. The big losers would be Parker, and of course Shearer.
Rongotai MP Annette King also joined in the fight back accusing reporters of getting it wrong and running false rumours from Right Wing commentators.
As far as I know, no “right wing commentator” said anything about the rumour until Duncan Garner broadcast them.