Deputy Leadership: Analysis of Results.

Okay, time for a bit of analysis and a few thoughts on the Deputy Leadership contest.

I’ve included the round by round results, but done the numbers in more detail, especially in terms of how the redistributed votes split in each round, all of which is laid out in the this Excel file – labour-deputy-leadership.xls

So, without further ado, let’s get on with the results.

Round 1

Candidate Unions/Affiliates Individual members MPs and MEPs Total
  Jon Cruddas 9.09% 5.67% 4.63% 19.39%
  Harriet Harman 4.35% 8.04% 6.54% 18.93%
  Alan Johnson 4.55% 5.53% 8.08% 18.16%
  Hilary Benn 4.93% 7.21% 4.27% 16.40%
Peter Hain 6.64% 3.87% 4.81% 15.32%
  Hazel Blears 3.77% 3% 4.99% 11.77%

Blears and the Blairite ‘Ultras’ bomb out in the first round on the back of a paltry 3% in the members’ section (and to think there were concerns expressed before the contest that her being Party Chair might give her an unfair edge) and another last place finish in the Union/Affiliates section, although she does roll in third amongst MPs and MEPs.

Cruddas has come from nowhere, before the campaign kicked off, to top the poll on first preferences (and presumably would have won if the vote had been run under FPTP) on the strength of a clear win in the Union/Affiliate section, beats Johnson in the members’ section and Benn in the MPs & MEPs section.

Harman has polled well amongst members despite a pretty lacklustre campaign, and having come second in the MPs & MEPs section (and overall) looks a stronger contender than she’s been given credit for.

The left/right split in the first round is 53.6% to 46.4% in the left’s favour.

Round 2

Candidate Unions/Affiliates Individual members MPs and MEPs Total
  Alan Johnson 5.91% 6.35% 11.47% 23.74%
  Harriet Harman 5.15% 8.80% 7.29% 21.23%
  Jon Cruddas 9.64% 6.01% 4.74% 20.39%
  Hilary Benn 5.56% 7.93% 4.74% 18.22%
  Peter Hain 7.08% 4.24% 5.10% 16.42%

Johnson is the main beneficiary of the redistribution of the Blears vote – up 5.5% overall – but the left/right split actually swings further to the left by 4.4% (58% to 42%).

Blears goes out and the overall vote swings left???

Two things appear to have gone on here – Harman has picked up about a quarter of Blears’ vote (and around the same percentage in all three sections), which suggests that that’s Blears’ share of the chromosomal vote moving across to Harman.

Hain and Cruddas have also made marginal gains on this round (about 1%) and as I can’t imagine too many people actually switching from Blears to either its look as if quite a fair number of ‘Blears of nothing’ votes went in – anything up to around 20% would be my guess – making Hains’ and Cruddas’ first round showing look a touch stronger this round.

Benn also does badly out of Blears with a 1.8% pick-up, a third of that of Johnson and behind Harman as well.

Hain goes out.

Round 3

Candidate Unions/Affiliates Individual members MPs and MEPs Total
  Alan Johnson 7.81% 7.31% 12.78% 27.90%
  Harriet Harman 7.12% 10.15% 8.61% 25.88%
  Jon Cruddas 11.01% 6.58% 6.30% 23.89%
  Hilary Benn 7.39% 9.29% 5.65% 22.33%

Hilary Benn finishes fourth and goes out, but what happened to the Hain vote?

This round sees a big swing back to the right, which for the first time takes a marginal lead in the overall voting (50.2% – 49.8%). Overall that suggests that Hain’s vote must have broken slightly to the right, rather than staying firmly with the left, which turns out to be backed up by the numbers which show that the Hain vote split fairly evenly across the four candidates, with Harman benefiting most (4.7%), Johnson and Benn picking up about the same (4.2% and 4.1%) and Cruddas losing out slightly (3.5%).

In the three sections, Harman has a slight advantage over Johnson in the pickup from Hain’s Union/Affiliate support, beats him comfortably in the members’ section (coming in only slightly behind Benn) and comes in more or less even with Johnson on picking up votes from Hain in the MPs/MEPs section.

For Cruddas, the redistribution of Hain’s votes is a bit of a disappointment as he comes in behind the other three remaining contenders in both the Union/Affiliates and Members’ sections while gaining a little ground in the MPs/MEPs section.

Throughout the contest it looked very much as if Hain lacked a clearly defined constituency to pitch to, which is evident is how his vote split when redistributed.

Round 4

Candidate Unions/Affiliates Individual members MPs and MEPs Total
  Alan Johnson 10.25% 10.70% 15.39% 36.35%
  Harriet Harman 9.46% 13.82% 10.29% 33.58%
  Jon Cruddas 13.61% 8.81% 7.65% 30.06%

Now we’ll see where the Benn vote went, and again its fairly even split – Johnson gets 8.4%, Harman 7.6% and Cruddas 6.5%, which puts Cruddas out.

The big news in this round is what happened to Benn’s in the member’s section, which broke a little over 60-40 against Johnson, which suggests that if Benn is to be considered centre-right then he’s only seen as marginally so by members and the Benn name still carries a fair bit of weight in left-wing circles – Hilary’s politics may be rather different from those of his father on many issues, but one has to wonder whether Tony’s reputation for being his own man hasn’t rubbed off on his son, which is why he’s pulled votes in from the left.

Harman picked up the most votes in the member’s section in this round, which swings things back towards the left in a big way, but the 2 to 1 break is a bit misleading on the strength of there being two centre-left candidates to one on the centre-right.

Round 5

Candidate Unions/Affiliates Individual members MPs and MEPs Total
  Harriet Harman 16.18% 18.83% 15.42% 50.43%
  Alan Johnson 17.15% 14.50% 17.91% 49.56%

And Harman takes it by a very narrow margin, after the Cruddas vote splits evenly in the Union/Affiliate section but breaks in Harman’s favour amongst members (5% – 3.8%) and MPs/MEPs (5.1%-2.5%).

Harman wins by a very narrow margin on the pickup from Cruddas in the members’ and MP/MEPs section. The Union/Affiliates section has little or no impact on the outcome in this round, although it must be disappointment to Johnson because his union background.


Cruddas lost the battle in the end, but as was apparent from Brown’s first speech as leader, won most of the arguments. Housing is right up near the top of the policy agenda and with the Deputy Leadership goes the job of reconnecting with the party’s membership base (and the Party Chairman[person?]ship), which, much to my amusement, means that Brown’s first clear decision as leader ended up sacking Blears by default.

Johnson put up a solid showing and should stay within the upper ministerial echelons on this showing, although he probably not done enough to get one of a big three/four portfolios (Treasury, Foreign Office, Justice/Home Office).

Benn was down for better things before the election on the strength of his performance on International Development and his placing will neither hurt or enhance his chances of promotion in the next Cabinet reshuffle.

As for Harman… who knows quite what to make of her result. She certainly benefited from a solid chromosomal vote – witness the 20-25% of the Blears vote she picked up in the second round – and one has to suspect that she also gained from being the relatively inoffensive middle ground candidate that supporters of Benn, Hain and Cruddas could safely switch to on the anyone but a Blarite tactical vote.

And that leaves Hain and Blears as the losers and the candidates most likely to warming the backbenches come Thursday.

Ministerial chances

Harman: Picked up the Party Chair along with the Deputy Leadership, which makes it clear that she won’t be Deputy Prime Minister. Does she also need a ministerial portfolio to keep her media profile high?

Not a major department certainly, but should pick up the equality portfolio from DCLG, on which she’s a much safer bet than Ruth ‘Opus Dei’ Kelly.

Johnson: One of the policy priority ministries, certainly, but not a move upwards into the great offices of state. May stay at education to finish the job or possibly pick up DCLG to move the local goverment reform agenda.

Benn: Widely viewed amongst the membership as a future Foreign Secretary but is it too soon for him to make the jump? Much depends on where Straw goes and how Brown sees Milliband, but could find himself at the FO if Straw takes the Justice portfolio and Deputy Prime Minister as some expect.

Cruddas: Will he be the new housing minister? Short on ministerial experience, which goes against him, but did very well in connecting with the membership during the campaign, so maybe not housing but a role within DCLG on local government reform and engagement with communities.

Hain/Blears – off the backbenches one suspects, unless Blears’s unswerving support for Blair sees her moved to the Lords in his resignation honours list.

At best, Hain might hang on to the Wales portfolio.

Sectional Results
In the sections, Cruddas topped the poll in the Union/Affiliate section right up until his elimination in the last but one round, and picked up 40% of the votes in that section.

Harman’s big success was in the the Member’s section, beating Johnson by 56.5% to 43.5%, having lead in that section throughout the whole contest, with Benn running second up until his elimination.

Johnson topped the poll amongst MPs/MEPs (53.7%-46.3% in the final round) and, again, led that section throughout the entire contest.

The turnout in each section is reported to be 99% in the MPs/MEPs section, 53% amongst members and a poor 8% in the Union/Affiliates section.

What these results show most clearly is that the days when the members were regarded as a dangerous hotbed of unelectable hard-left activists are long gone – if it can be said that there’s a shift to the left at all, then that shift goes only so far as the Benn/Harman axis, which is about where the Party should be as a credible, mainstream centre-left, social democratic party.

All the Blarite talk of Labour abandoning the political centre-ground and lurching to the left is complete nonsense. There’s a need, and a demand amongst members, for the party to spread a little more to the left in a couple of key policy areas – housing being the obvious one, where the balance between ownership and the social/rental sector needs attention, and the justice/security portfolios need to be rebalanced so that were more visibly seen to be defending our traditional civil liberties in the face of threats to national security and not curtailing them.

Moreover, there is a real need to recast some areas of policy into an authentically Labour narrative. One of things that has clearly been problematic during the Blair years is Blair’s own lack of substantive roots in the party and his poor understanding of the party’s intellectual foundations and history.

Take the NHS and moves towards greater localism (e.g. Foundation hospitals); under Blair this policy was presented as something entirely new and largely without intellectual or political roots within the Labour canon. Nothing could be further from the truth. The tensions between centralism and localism in the NHS (and the debate surrounding the balance between the two) stretch right back to the very foundation of the NHS in thq 1940s and the heated debates of the time between Bevan and Morrison, who favoured a decentralised model that is not that dissimilar from that which the current party leadership have been trying to take forward.

Internally, one of Brown’s big strengths is likely to be his understanding of the party’s roots, history and intellectual traditions, which, if used well, may take some of the sting out of some of the more divisive policy issues of the Blair era. On public sector reform, in particular, we already know that there will be no great substantives change in policy, but what Brown can give the party that Blair couldn’t is a clear sense of how those reforms are actually part of a clearly Labour narrative founded on the long-standing values and intellectual traditions of the party rather than mere pragmatic borrowings from the Tory Party, as too often seemed the case under Blair.

Perhaps the last thing to say here is to address a stream of posts about the Deputy Leadership by Luke Akehurst, who’s about the most openly Blairite Labour blogger out there.

First things first – calm down, Luke, you’ll end up on suicide watch if you’re not careful.

Second, try looking at what actually happened with these election.

1. However you look at it, the old ‘hard-left’ has been almost completely eclipsed. Not only did McDonnell fail to make the leadership ballot but few but his own supporters had any major complaints about it or took the view that the transition between Blair and Brown had been devalued due to the lack of left wing challenge.

2. Cruddas was much the most left-wing candidate in the Deputy Leadership contest and his main platform amounted primarily to one of paying more attention to the one hot issue in many of our heartland constituencies – housing – and a call to reconnect with a membership that, as the results demonstrate, sit somewhere (politically) between Hilary Benn and Harman.

Not much in that, then, to support the idea of the party lurching to the left or red under the bed or whatever it is you’re worried about, just a good strong belief in working from a platform of social justice to build a fair society.

It wasn’t the Amicus/TGWU vote that swung it for Harman – unless you think that somehow being an ex-Postie gave Johnson a divine right to sweep up the union votes when Cruddas was eliminated – it was Harman’s strong performance in the membership section and the 2:1 split in the pickup from Cruddas in the MPs/MEPs section than swung the final vote. All this talk of:

I can’t help thinking that all this stems back to Sir Ken Jackson losing the Amicus General Secretaryship by a couple of hundred votes a few years ago.

At least we know Harriet will follow instructions from Gordon.

Those of us on the right of the party need a serious strategic rethink – the two most left-talking candidates came 1st and 3rd so something was badly wrong with our campaigning or our organisation.


As the gossip from the count is that the union members polled heavily the way they were advised to by their executives the internal party political priority for the long term is to get the unions back to being what they historically have been – the bastion of the right of the party. If we don’t ensure the successors to the current generation of General Secretaries when they retire are from the moderate wing of the party we’ll end up in a decade’s time with Brown’s successor in a contested election being from the left.

…is hardly helpful, in fact it all sound a little reminiscent of the kind of talk that would, during the 80s, have kicked off questions about whether there was a ‘party within a party’ operating – and we know where that led.

Seriously, Luke, if you actually look at where we are today, then its obvious that we’re not going to shift on economic policy, simply keep a steady course. We need to tone things down on justice and security, but that more about quelling some of the ‘not on my watch’ panic around terrorism and telling the Daily Mail/Express to fuck off and stop jumping to their histrionic and sometimes racist bullshit. On Education and the NHS, we need to cut out much of the managerialist waffle and get the narrative right so we take the membership with us on the reform agenda by linking it clearly to substantive Labour values – its then just a matter of delivering. On local government, the new emphasis on housing and localism needs to be welded together into new strand of bottom-up municipalism for the 21st century.

And generally we just need to get on with the job of beating up on the Tories at every possible opportunity.

What there to worry about in any of that?

8 thoughts on “Deputy Leadership: Analysis of Results.

  1. Firstly, Unity, can I congratulate you on not commenting on the election at all throughout the campaign-unlike other bloggers.

    I put myself on the Right of the Party- but declined to give Blears a preference. Why? Because it was clear that she would offer only ‘Blairism without Blair’. I was one of the people who believed in Blairism- but it was right for its time. That time is not now. I hope the Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the Lords awaits this lady- she has no career left in the Commons. And, on many occasions, I noted how her supporters were ‘Blears or nothing’…she looked like turning amongst her fanbase into a female David Owen.

    I split my vote between Hain/Harman/Cruddas in that order. Peter was a radical arguably before the Party was; a stalwart anti-apartheid campaigner[a founder member of ANL, Jon…] and a vigorous and irreplaceable part of peace in Northern Ireland and devolution in Wales. I hope he stays in post.

    Jon only won my third preference through reading this blog and others like it. It was obvious that he would not win, but he had the grassroots support in the Midlands alone that converted me. He will make an excellent inaugeral Secretary of State for Housing..I hope he notes that places like Lincolnshire and north Shropshire are empty enough to build new ‘eco-towns’.

    Harriet was the vote of my head if Peter was the vote of my heart. Her ability to please middle-class women, the union rank-and-file, the public servants that we depend on and the forces of human rights, freedom and democracy meant she ticked many of the boxes we will need to win in 2009 [or 2008?]. She will be a superb Deputy Leader and Party Chair.

    A good day for democracy and a great day for democratic socialism.

    Tom Watson for Cabinet? I do hope so. Stranger things have happened.

  2. Harmen clearly tipped the scales on the “we should have a woman” vote – since many people would have, for the sake of political correctness put one somewhere on their preference list.

    The other thing that may have helped her was her statement on Newsnight that we should have an apology for the war, which she, immediately after winning, says officially says never happened. I must admit I find that sickening – Orwell would have understood.

    Fixing the housing crisis is not necesarily a left wing issue. The Barker Reort & common sense, show that the only way of fixing the housing shortage is building them. Whether that is done by the state or merely by the state removing controls & allowing the private sector to build. One option is left 7 the other right.

  3. Excellent, very thoughtful analysis, particularly the summary at the end.

    I did though, know a handful of people who went Blears – 1, Cruddas – 2, contrary to your suggestion that it was simply Blears or nothing voters that caused the small switch to Jon. The rationale behind this was party-building. Whatever your policy disagreements with Blears (and I have many – she didn’t get a preference from me), she understands the party and the need to rebuild. Likewise so does Jon and he also put it central to his campaign.

    Interested in what you say about FH and Bevan and Morrison, prompting me to rethink my holiday reading.

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