The new leadership of the Labour Party

In spite of periodic media froth, it has been evident for 13 years that Gordon Brown would succeed Tony Blair as leader of the Labour Party. On the other hand, the election for Deputy Leader – the result of which was announced this afternoon – was always doubtful.
I voted for Alan Johnson [campaign site here] – my former boss at the Communication Workers Union – and expected him to win. The news that Harriet Harman [campaign site here] is the victor genuinely surprised me. However, I met her several times in the 1970s when she was solicitor for what was then called the National Council for Civil Liberty (now just Liberty) and she is both principled and competent.
It was really close: Harman won 50.43% to Johnson’s 49.56%. At first sight, it looks as if the result was decided by the trade union vote. It is believed that only around 10% of members in affiliated unions bothered to vote and that clearly made a difference. As a former trade union General Secretary, Johnson might have expected more union support, but his hard line on labour laws must have cost him votes. On the other hand, Harman had the support of her husband, a senior official in a large union.
John Cruddas [campaign site here] – as the only backbencher in the field of six candidates – did remarkably well to come third and the amount of support he received needs to be factored into Brown’s thinking.
You can check out the round-by-round figures for the election result here.