Did Collins and Jones save Cunliffe?

Claire Trevett writes:

As for Labour, Grant Robertson wanted Cunliffe’s job last September. Last week, things were so fragile he might have been in with a chance. List MPs were doing the numbers as internal polling showed them diving into the low to mid-20s and Cunliffe with stratospherically high negative ratings.

One poll was reported to have Labour only five or six points ahead of the Greens. Emerging from the election as effectively a medium-sized party is no way to celebrate Labour’s centenary. The prospect those List MPs could be looking in the Situations Vacant come October was focusing minds.

There were whispers about the nuclear option of forcing a leadership change, not necessarily to win the election but to try to shore up Labour’s vote from a catastrophic low. Ironically, Cunliffe’s opponents Jones and Robertson may well have stopped those musings turning into a more concrete push. Some had discussed putting Jones up as that last-minute leader because he could have an immediate impact on the polling.

He took himself out of the equation by resigning. Robertson helped forestall any such move by his dogged pursuit of Collins, ensuring it distracted from Labour’s woes, giving voters time to forget and for the polls to rally. David Parker also helped, delivering a monetary policy statement that actually had some relevance to everyday people, although he has so far fallen short on delivering the numbers needed for people to assess what it means to them.

I’m not sure it is a bad thing for National, if Labour doesn’t have a change of leader.

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