Saturday, 25 September 2010

Brown and Harman among those who failed to vote in Labour leadership contest

Okay, so they may have a pig's ear of a leadership electoral system, but the Labour Party's decision to publish how every MP and MEP voted is going to provide some fun and games over the coming days.

The first this I have noticed is that there are a couple of high profile absentees from the voting lists. These are Gordon Brown and Harriet Harman.

I suppose you could argue the point that, as Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman needed to be able to work with whoever was elected - but that's more an argument for not publishing the lists than for not voting.

But as for Brown, he turns up infrequently enough in the House of Commons. The least you would have thought he would do would be to give a damn who succeeds him.

Others have pointed out the number of MPs who cast just a single preference - ignoring the fact that AV allows you to vote for as many people as you like, safe in the knowledge that a lower preference won't harm the chances of a higher.

Mark Reckons has pointed out that it would have taken 6 MPs or MEPs swithcing allegiance to have swung the election for David Milliband. An alternative view is that if there were 11 MPs or MEPs who did not cast a counting vote then they could have swung the result. In the event, there were only four MPs who bothered to cast a vote but whose ballot paper did not contribute to the result (because they didn't cast a preference for either of the Millinbands). These were Diane Abbott, Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper and John McDonnell. Add in Brown and Harman and you do not have enough to alter the outcome (although I haven't yet checked to see if there were others who failed to vote at all.

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