Healey and Rotheram elected to NEC – but Skinner loses his seat

July 2, 2014 8:46 pm

Today the Parliamentary Labour Party were electing their members of the National Executive Committee (NEC). Former Deputy Leader Margaret Beckett had already been elected unopposed, leaving three candidates for two places. The results were as follows:

John Healey 216
Steve Rotheram 133
Dennis Skinner 121

250 out of 257 Labour MPs voted.

That means that Skinner, a Labour Party institution, was not re-elected to the NEC. One of the most well known members of the party has lost his place on the party’s governing body – and as someone who’s a big fan of Skinner, that’s obviously hugely upsetting.

Soon after the results were confirmed, rumours circulated suggesting that the election had been a plot from the leader’s office to remove Skinner.

That doesn’t ring true to me though.

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to in the party tonight (staff as well as MPs) have been upset to see Skinner lose his place – but although it seems like open season on Miliband’s office at the moment, it’s be unfair to pin this on them.

For starters, John Healey is one of the most popular members of the PLP. He was overwhelmingly elected to the shadow cabinet in 2010 with 200+ votes, and retained that popularity before being prematurely cut from the Shadow Cabinet a year later (as can be seen by his 85% voteshare today). His departure from the Shadow Cabinet also makes him an unlikely “Miliband Man” – although he’s known the Labour leader for years, he backed Ed Balls in 2010 – and is thought of as an independent thinker, often pushing policy ideas that differ from those of the leadership.

What seems to have happened is that Healey (a popular and vigorous campaigner) has swept up one of most MPs votes, with the remainder being split between Rotheram and Healey. Rotheram is a strong campaigner too – especially on issues around the Hillsborough Disaster – and perhaps appeals to a similar constituency (straight talking, leftish) as Skinner.

Whilst it’s a really sad blow to lose Skinner from the NEC – someone who has never shied away from speaking truth to power – it seems he’s lost out in a straightforward fight. The Labour leadership won’t want to have got rid of Skinner for exactly the reasons we’re seeing tonight – bad publicity, and a great deal of upset and anguish. And on top of that, some MPs close to Miliband appear to have voted for Skinner – which suggests if this were a plot, it’s a very funny sort of plot indeed.

Let’s hope the “Beast of Bolsover” is back on the NEC soon… 20140702-204350-74630492.jpg

  • David Marriott

    I might have to reconsider my membership. Bolsover clp

    • DanFilson

      You would really reconsider your Labour Party membership because your MP, who has done good service to the Party, has reached the age when the PLP has decided it’s time for him to leave the NEC?

      • cvav

        Yep.

      • cvav

        Yep.

      • David Marriott

        Probably not Dan, I was livid yesterday though.

      • David Marriott

        Probably not Dan, I was livid yesterday though.

  • MikeHomfray

    I don’t know if you heard his question today in PMQT – but it was really rambling and incoherent. I think sometimes its just knowing when its the right time to go

    • keggsie

      Yes, I thought the same Mike.

    • Doug Smith

      Yes, that’s quite perceptive of you, well done.

      Now how do we go about getting Mandelson onto the NEC?

      • Local Heroescot

        no way !!!!

        • treborc1

          The NEC is not powerful enough for Mandy

      • Mr Arthur Cook

        Hold all the meetings on luxury Russian yachts.

    • Danny

      “rambling and incoherent”.

      How dare he? The smooth-talking, media-trained, well-polished political elite has served us so well after all!

  • treborc1

    The times comes for everyone to say thanks for the memory, he’s been the best thing in politics for a long time, but sadly I heard him to day and he did seem to be out of it a bit, but his one liners can still be devastating.

    he’ll be back.

  • markmyword49

    Not much bothered that Skinner has gone but I look at the ones elected and shiver.
    If Skinner’s time had come so had Beckett’s even if she was elected unopposed.
    Healey was a complete failure in the last government. It just shows the value of networking.
    Rotherham??? Known only for doing what any constituency MP does to keep his seat.

    And you believe these three will want to change the system and policy??????

    • MikeHomfray

      Steve Rotheram is an excellent MP and has plenty to say – the reality of the past few years has meant that people know him best for his campaign on the Hillsborough enquiry.
      He is a Liverpool supporter and born and bred in the city: its not just about ‘keeping his seat’, and those who know him wouldn’t agree with your criticism.

      • markmyword49

        You must live in a different UK than me. All MPs will pretend to be in agreement with whatever the main protest groups in their constituency are agitating about. That’s how they get their mug shots in the local press. Gone are the days when an MP had the courage to turn round to those groups and tell them when they are wrong.
        MPs have to take account of constituency matters but I want mine to make decisions in the interests of the UK as a whole not a minority interest group who just happen to be flavour of the month in the media.
        The pendulum has swung too far in favour of MPs being only interested in constituency matters. That’s one reason why all this talk of localism will probably fail. Without all the constituency matters to deal with they might actually have to do what we send them to Westminster to do – scrutinise the executive and the legislation properly. However, that’s too much like hard work for a significant majority of backbenchers.

        • treborc1

          Your wrong in this one the Hillsborough battle could have been left to rot, this MP worked his socks off on this one. And I’m grateful for his hard work.

          Look at his life and what he has done this is a bloke who has worked, he has done it been there knows the issue, he is working class and a bloke who knows what it’s like to work I mean real work.

          This is a working class MP and I hope may one day get to the top within labour, better then the cowboys we have now who talk about hard work but have never done it themselves and I’m talking about the other shower as well.

          • markmyword49

            I’m not in favour of all these inquiries into historical occurrences . Changes to practices have usually been made years before they report. In fact many of the changes have been superseded by other changes. All they’ve done is cost millions of pounds to placate people who on the whole are incapable of being placated.
            I may stand corrected on Rotherham but as the only time you hear about him outside Merseyside is in connection with Hillsborough its hardly surprising that people are scratching their heads asking who he is.

    • DanFilson

      Margaret Beckett was unopposed because no other woman MP stood. Don’t blame her, blame the rest.

      • markmyword49

        I’m wary of blaming women for anything when it comes to the Labour party politics. They want parity but aren’t prepared to fight for it on committees like this. I’d have thought there were some female backbenchers who wanted to raise their profile and believed they had something to contribute.

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    At the age of 82, his future is behind him.

    Possibly once brilliant, but no longer.

    • treborc1

      well that is your view, I bet it’s not the view of most lefties or even real labour party members. Thankfully he’s not going to retire and long may he keep on going.

  • Doug Smith

    There’s no room in today’s pro-business Labour Party for socialist dinosaurs.

    • Local Heroescot

      Dennis isnt that far away from the principles that the party was founded upon if your opposed to them you might want to join another party that better suits your political stance! He is not a socialist dinosaur he is a first class politician who sees what the real intentions of the heirarchy and ruling classes are and is willing to stand and fight it! I for one will want him back ASAP. take the PLP out of the equation altogether and make the whole party democratically accountable to the membership thats what LABOUR are about!

      • treborc1

        So will we all, I doubt you will find anyone of the left who is a socialist who would attack Dennis or Tony Benn or Bob Crow because they are the heart and soul of the labour movement.

        But to the New labour party and the Progress group he is what is keeping their idea of a labour party back in the so call dark ages, hence you have labour with Blair and Miliband saying we are not old labour we are not going back to the past.

        But it was Miliband who attacked the Unions.

        • ColinAdkins

          Rubbish. Romantacised twaddle. The biggest inhibitor of the development of a left wing social democratic (of the classical kind) strand in the party is the left’s attachment to the people you mention. Benn the man who rejected a hereditary peerage only to resign from the Commons when his son got a seat. I also blame the ideological illiteracy of the left on the collapse of the CP but then again I am an old tankie who sometimes laughs at Skinner’s interventions but is glad he now holds no positions of influence in the Party.

      • Doug Smith

        “socialist dinosaur” – that was irony ;-)

    • ColinAdkins

      If we don’t like the result we can always change the electorate.

      • i_bid

        What electorate is that?

  • Guest

    From what I hear, Team Miliband/aka the Muppet Babies, were not happy at the way Rotherham spoke to and about them and Ed over the photo with The Sun. They then lobbied for Healey. And like a well maintained clock (just like all their strategems, like taking on Murdoch then cozying up to the Sun) dropped on the floor, they plan went awry – people voted off Skinner instead. The best laid plans of mice and men….

  • Benjamin W. Vergara-Carvallo

    I think Dennis ought to be made a ‘Life NEC member’. Room should be made for such a post.
    A move like this, would counteract the wrong – ‘naive and out of touch’- voting that took place at the NEC. This clearly shows how distant the leadership and the current advisers to Ed are from the potential Labour voters. A distracting and divisive element has been introduced to the political debate; thus, time -not available’ on the door-to-door arena will be against the party.

    – There is no way that this kind of Drifting and unshaped Politics can be communicate to people, including traditional supporters of the party and ‘newcomers.

    – The NEC’s ‘outsourced political agenda’ looks very much like it has been ‘made in the back-streets somewhere in China.; poor in quality of materials.

    – John Healey is a good ‘Constituency MP'; and have had some good initiatives; although he is not a ‘Milliband-ite’, he will be an asset to the NEC.

    – Margaret Beckett has already passed her peak and her political experience IS NOT of the kind wanted and needed to go to the nation asking and canvassing for support to the Labour Party.

    PS. I shall not rejoin the Party.

  • Daniel Speight

    Is this post damage limitation?

    “Not me guv, honest”

    The sooner these stables called the PLP is cleaned out the better. It seems to be 70% Blairite clones.

    • Doug Smith

      “Are you briefing”

      Indeed. No report here of Ian Lavery’s speech to the Unite conference, where he criticised Miliband’s campaign against trade unions:

      “It’s OK for the hierarchy to organise behind the scenes, but when ordinary people, the trade unions, try to organise they bring in the police. What a disgrace.”

      • John Ruddy

        If this was “Union List” you’d have a point.

  • swatnan

    Its a positive move, and hopefully the Party can now move forward.
    Little is known about Rotheram and where he stands on most things.

  • Danny

    The absolute worst thing about the Labour Party is the f*cking PLP.

  • wookiehare

    I don’t know whose plot it was but it was not a good one. Dennis Skinner is one of the last MPs who speaks for old-style, and honest Labour policies

    • treborc1

      And the honest labour people.

  • Mr Arthur Cook

    We don’t want people like Skinner putting the Daily Mail readers off voting for Labour.
    He’s far too “off message” ….not “cool Britannia” at all.
    I don’t see why he needs to keep spoiling things by banging on about socialism and fairness. He would do himself a bit of good if he got silk suit and spent a bit more time in Soho restaurants.
    You associate yourself with the likes of Skinner and you’ll have those ghastly council estate people joining Labour – god knows where it would end!!!
    (perhaps in winning an election?)

    • ColinAdkins

      Rubbish. Skinner as leader would do worse than Foot or Brown for that matter.

  • driver56

    Why do we shoot ourselves in the foot every time. The PLP is a great tool to get rid of people. The very word socialism sends the leadership running for cover. I hope the constituency party in bolsover back him to the hilt.

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