James Forsyth

Why talk of a Cruddas Purnell ticket isn’t Balls

Why talk of a Cruddas Purnell ticket isn't Balls
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With Gordon Brown appearing doomed the level of chatter about the Labour leadership contest that will follow the next election is increasing, Fraser did his political column on it this week.One of the more intriguing ideas out there, which Allegra Stratton floated on Tuesday, is that Cruddas and Purnell might team up on a ‘Stop Balls’ ticket. The idea would be that the presence of Cruddas on the ticket would make Purnell acceptable to the Unions and the soft-left while Purnell’s presence would allay fears that Cruddas wanted to take Labour back to the pre-Blair era. (To be accurate, Cruddas is a Blairite but an early stage one—1994 to 2000—not a late stage one.)

Toby Helm has poured cold water on the idea on the grounds that Cruddas and Purnell are too ideologically different to run together. But to win the Labour leadership, people are going to have to form alliances across the divides in the party: no bloc is strong enough to deliver the leadership on its own.

I suspect we’ll see ‘dream tickets’ forming, there will be a deputy leadership contest as well if Harman runs, which are designed to broaden the candidates support beyond their natural constituency. In these, personal chemistry is going to matter and Cruddas and Purnell do get on well. Tellingly, Cruddas heaped praise on Purnell at a think tank event yesterday describing him as the best civic republican in British politics.

Written byJames Forsyth

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

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