Who might replace Tom Watson as Labour’s election co-ordinator?

July 4, 2013 3:57 pm

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.

  • Mike Homfray

    Of those Coaker or Dugher .
    Alexander hasn’t got a good track record.
    Needs someone who can get on with the unions not rile them

    • Alex Otley

      Jim Murphy should be on the backbenches. If he gets Watson’s job I wouldn’t blame Unite for disaffiliating.

      • Mike Homfray

        Jim Murphy should be on the backbenches, but the TORY backbenches!

  • RogerMcC

    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.

    Because nothing shouts out ‘best man for the job’ than a 100% failure rate and having another full time job already…..

  • crosland

    What happened to the general secretary doing this role ?
    Are our FTO’s so cr.. these days or what ?

  • driver56

    There are plenty of great party organisers outside of parliament. They get their MPs elected. perhaps it should be someone like that, someone who has not been sucked in to the establishment, and who is not afraid to tell it like it is. If Labour do not offer a referendum on Europe we will lose the next election and that is a certainty. Ed and some of his gang need telling straight. The whole system needs an overhaul. Why in the deepest recession for decades are people not joining the unions or the labour party? things have changed but the parties have not. we need to keep up. we should be miles ahead in the poles but we are not, the alarm bells are ringing but no one is listening.

  • Ian Young

    We need someone a little less right wing than Jim Murphy. How about Lynton Crosby.

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