Simon Danczuk: Why Labour should pause this 'disastrous' leadership race

Photo: © Malcolm Journeaux
Photo: © Malcolm Journeaux

By Simon Danczuk

Among the many criticisms levelled at me since I called for the Labour leadership contest to be halted yesterday is that I am against democracy.

But it is not those calling for this contest to be paused who are anti-democratic, it is those who adopted an electoral process that is wide open to abuse, without considering the consequences. There's nothing democratic about allowing people who oppose us to pack the electorate, which is exactly what the Labour Party has done.

Perhaps the party has been naive in thinking only people who support Labour would sign up as registered supporters, because this is clearly not the case.


We've left ourselves vulnerable to our political opponents and those on the extreme left by allowing them to register for as little as £3 and decide who the leader of the Labour Party should be.

Through poor planning, Labour has handed its opponents the chance to undermine the party for the price of a Tesco meal deal. I've seen for myself that this is happening here in Rochdale and I'm sure the same will be happening right across the country.

The truth is that we are in the position we are because of Ed Miliband's poor leadership.

Not only did he lose the election by allowing the party to drift too far to the left but he also gave permission to the far left within the party to organise and have a presence. And he did this while blocking election winning policies on immigration and welfare.

But worse than any of this, he has bequeathed an absolute mess of a leadership election and we're having to pick up the pieces.

If you'd have asked me two or three weeks ago if we should suspend the process I would have said no but the reality of the situation has changed. We are going to need time to drill down to the bottom of these figures and find out why these new members are joining or becoming registered supporters.

Let me be clear, this is not about my personal preference for leader. While I do think Jeremy Corbyn is the most unsuitable of the candidates, this is not why I'm calling for a delay in the leadership contest.

I believe this process should be halted, not because I oppose democracy, but because this contest has been a serious failure and risks causing lasting damage to the Labour Party.

Simon Danczuk is the Labour MP for Rochdale. You can follow him on Twitter here

The opinions in Politics.co.uk's Comment and Analysis section are those of the author and are no reflection of the views of the website or its owners.

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