Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Tense day for Abbott: surge expected before deadline

Yesterday (8 June) Diane Abbott had 11 votes from Labour MPs - a third of what she needs to be a candidate in the party's leadership elections. She will need to have won another 22 by the end of today.

Acting Labour Leader Harriet Harman cast her vote for Diane yesterday and some commentators forecast a late surge - she currently has the least votes of all contenders: (check Labour Party website for updates, next at 12.30pm then 5.30pm).

According to Left Futures, there were 47 MPs yet to vote - 15 of these are women (one of them Meg Hillier of neighbouring Hackney South).

Abbott's chances would increase greatly if John McDonnell stood down (Abbott supporters urge McDonnell to pull out) and pressure is mounting for one or other to sacrifice themselves. According to Left Futures: "It is inconceivable that they can both qualify and one of them should withdraw as soon as possible in order to give the other time to qualify.... The decision should therefore be about who is most likely to reach 33, and about nothing else. John and Diane must resolve this themselves. The greater credit may well go to the one who withdraws."

Bookmakers Paddy Power gives Diane odds around 33 to one while McDonnell is at 100 to one.

Looks like this might be a nail-biting day.

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