James Forsyth

Who is Labour’s Chris Huhne?

Who is Labour's Chris Huhne?
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Reading Fraser’s posts about the odds on who will succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader and whether he will be challenged this side of a general election, it struck me that we need to look for Labour’s Chris Huhne or John Redwood: someone who doesn’t have much chance of putting themselves into contention unless they steal a march on their rivals. To my mind, this rules out the Milibands, Purnell and Balls who all probably think that they are better served by waiting. I’d also put Jon Cruddas in this camp, one of his major selling points in a 2010 leadership election will be that he is the clean hands candidate.

Those who fall into the Huhne / Redwood category are John Hutton and John Denham. Whether either of them want to risk the consequences, which would not be pretty, of running against Brown seems extremely unlikely. But if either of them really does want the top job, now is their moment to move.

One other scenario to keep your eye on is the stalking horse that wounds but doesn’t kill. Imagine if a candidate announced saying, ‘I just want the party to have a choice so a vote for me is a vote for a leadership contest’ and got significant support. At this point, the floodgates would open and Alan Johnson or Jack Straw, the wiliest operator around, could emerge as a caretaker leader.  

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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