Cruddas rules himself out of leadership bid

Alex Smith

Crudas

By Alex Smith / @alexsmith1982

UPDATE: Jon Cruddas’ full statement tonight now added is below…

It will surprise and disappoint many – including myself – who thought his involvement would make the leadership contest more interesting and more plural, that Jon Cruddas has used an article in tomorrow’s Guardian to rule himself out of the leadership race.

The Guardian is reporting tonight:

“Cruddas admits frankly:

“Hand on heart, I do not want to be leader of the Labour party or subsequently prime minister. These require certain qualities I do not possess. “The role of leader is one of the greatest honours imaginable – but it is not a bauble to aspire for. It is a duty to fulfil. I do not feel that I am in a position to deliver on the hopes and expectations that will be placed in the next leader.””

Cruddas continues:

“Refocusing the party machine, turning the party outwards to the communities we seek to represent, rebuilding our internal democracy and ending the stranglehold of unelected officials are urgent and immediate tasks.”

Jon wants to continue to make an impact on the leadership discussion and the party – particularly in organisation – but this is a purely personal decision.

UPDATE: Here is Jon Cruddas’ statement in full:

“Since the election many people have urged me to stand for the leadership of the party. I have been humbled by the enthusiasm people have shown for my possible candidacy. I have given it serious thought.

The role of leader is one of the greatest honours imaginable – but it is not a bauble to aspire for. It is a duty to fulfil. I do not feel that I am in a position to deliver on the hopes and expectations that will be placed in the next leader.

Standing at the count for my seat in Dagenham almost two weeks ago, I watched as Labour won both Parliamentary seats in a borough targeted by the BNP. The council elections saw the BNP wiped out in a borough where they had high hopes. I also saw results come in from Oxford East, Blackburn, seats in Birmingham, and to see the stunning local election results in places like Camden and Islington.

Those results, in an election that was supposed to deliver a hammer blow to the Labour Party, made me more determined than ever to help create a national party rooted in the culture of organising that these local examples signify. Refocusing the party machine, turning the party outwards to the communities we seek to represent, rebuilding our internal democracy and ending the stranglehold of unelected officials are urgent and immediate tasks.

I am determined to play a full role in the re-invigoration of a party that stands as the best hope for the people of this country. But to put it simply, that role of rebuilding and energising the party is a job that doesn’t have a vacancy.

I would like to be involved in the debate about the future direction of the party and how we reconnect with our lost voters. But I cannot enter a leadership election just to contribute to a debate; to go into this must be on the basis of running to win and hand on heart I do not want to be leader of the Labour Party or subsequently Prime Minister. These require certain qualities I do not possess.

If the Labour Party is to deserve to return to power, it requires more than a media beauty contest, analysing the best means of mimicking the talents of our opponents, while sterling ourselves for a big heave at the next election. Our problems are drawn from a deeper well. But so is our potential. Labour has a chance to be bold. And at our boldest, we are Britain’s best hope for a freer more just country. The next few months will decide whether the party is ready to grasp that chance.”

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