Labour leadership: Miliband joins deadline disquiet

Labour leadership: Miliband joins deadline disquiet
Labour leadership: Miliband joins deadline disquiet

By Tobias Benedetto

Ed Miliband has added to growing disquiet within Labour ranks over the deadline for leadership contest nominations.

The Labour MP, who is standing as a candidate himself in the elections said on Twitter: "MPs/members annoyed about short nominations timetable: I have to say I agree. Need broadest possible choice & time for MPs to decide & consult."

The timetable asks MPs to nominate their chosen candidate by Thursday May 27th.

Jon Cruddas, who announced this week he would not be running, was among the first to criticise the schedule. He told Radio 4's PM programme the schedule was "an absolute nonsense. I've known some of [the contenders] for 20 years and I don't know what they stand for, and I won't be able to make up my mind in time."

He said he wanted the party to "rediscover our ethic and our soul".

"We should offer our candidates the opportunity to do that, rather than just stitch up nominations in the parliamentary party in a matter of days and hours. I think that's totally unacceptable."

The leftwing Labour MP John McDonnell also complained about the rules, saying the process was biased towards the Labour hierarchy's favoured candidates and effectively excluded the possibility of other candidates coming forward to secure sufficient nominations.

Mr McDonnell, who has revealed he will join the contest if he can get enough support for a nomination, said: "It prevents rank-and-file party members having any say over the process. Labour MPs will have no real opportunity to consult their local parties, and constituency parties will have no time to meet. Effectively excluding rank and file members of the party in this way will just alienate all those who are looking for a fresh start."

Candidates need 33 nominations from fellow Labour MPs by next week to be able to stand.


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