James Forsyth

Get ready for the return of shadow cabinet elections

Get ready for the return of shadow cabinet elections
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One of the fun things about Labour’s return to opposition will be the return of shadow cabinet elections. Tony Blair never managed to change the fact that the Parliamentary Labour Party elects the shadow cabinet.

This is going to cause some mighty ruckuses and put some rather odd people in Labour’s top team. Just imagine if David Cameron’s choice of shadow cabinet members was dictated by the Parliamentary Party.

The rules are that Labour MPs get to vote for 19 members of the shadow cabinet, at least four of their votes have to be for female candidates. The results are then published with the candidates ranked in order of popularity, something that always creates a good story — Gordon Brown came a lowly 13th in the last set in 1996. The leader can then add other members to the team. (The elected shadow cabinet is also meant to form the first cabinet if Labour return to government.)

The shadow cabinet elections will provide us with an annual commentary on who is up and who is down in the Labour party and provide an opportunity for plenty of mischief making. It’ll be fascinating to see who tops the poll and which of the current Cabinet have to be saved by being one of the leader’s picks.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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