Tom Watson’s surprise decision to step down as Labour’s election co-ordinator means that there’s now a very enticing position at the top of the party as the face of Labour’s 2015 campaign. Who might be in the running? Here are some of the names already circulating as possible election co-ordinators:
Douglas Alexander – an experienced candidate (having fronted the 2010 General Election campaign and the 2009 European Election campaign) the Shadow Foreign Secretary is believed to have coveted the job of General Election co-ordinator for some time. Although he shadows one of the major offices of state, but in opposition there’s still time in his schedule for running things organisationally. And of course he ran David Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010.
Harriet Harman – Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harman has seen and done everything, and has experience of fighting both Tories and Lib Dems. She has the democratically elected position in the party to command respect amongst members and could perhaps move away from the Culture brief to focus on what would be seen as a bigger role in the push towards 2015.
Sadiq Khan – the Shadow Justice Secretary ran Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign and is close to the Labour leader. He’s recently added Shadow London Minister to his portfolio, so he may not have the time to co-ordinate the General Election campaign too – especially if he’s considering a run at London Mayor in 2016. However he’s trusted by Miliband and his seat was marginal in 2010, so he knows the importance of campaigning.
Jim Murphy – Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy has built up a solid majority in his seat, which was once considered marginal – so he has experience of building up a ground operation in his CLP. He also helped run David Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010. Yet after being criticised by Len McCLuskey in the New Statesman recwently – and criticising Unite yesterday – appointing Murphy to replace McCluskey’s friend Watson might be seen as an aggressive move against the union.
Michael Dugher – something of an outside bet, but Dugher is already in the Shadow Cabinet as a minister without portfolio and is also Vice Chair Communications of the Labour Party. He’s close to Watson and works closely with both party HQ and the leader’s office, so could be the man to step into the breach as a like-for-like replacement for his friend and ally Watson.
If any more names come into the frame, we’ll let you know…
Update: Another outside shout being discussed over the past hour is Vernon Coaker. He’s not particularly well known outside the party, but he took his Gelding seat from the Tories in 1997 (from Andrew Mitchell no less) and has built up a strong reputational as a fearsome local campaigner in what was once Tory territory. This year he delivered all 8 of his Nottinghamshire County Council Districts for Labour to win the council. He’s a long shot, but he’s being discussed in Westminster this evening.