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John Rentoul: Liam Byrne for Labour leader?

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Thursday, 10 December 2009 at 03:48 pm
This question, asked by Daniel Finkelstein on the basis of a single plausible performance on a difficult brief on the aforementioned Newsnight last night, is of course number 193 in my series of Questions to Which the Answer is No.

But not for the obvious reasons.

Byrne would be an excellent leader of the Labour Party, and he has many of the qualities - including that of being relatively unknown - that might favour him in a leadership contest.

At the AJ4PM and DM4PM joint campaign headquarters, however, we are focused entirely on the need to replace Gordon Brown as leader and Prime Minister before the general election. As was mentioned all too briefly by one of our media spokespersons, Peter Hyman, also on Newsnight last night, in his discussion with the Fink and Olly Grender.

Alan Johnson and David Miliband are the best options before the general election, because they have the depth of Cabinet-level experience and the public profile required to save 20 or more Labour seats - which could make the difference between a bad defeat and a hung parliament.

Even though time seems to be running out, there ought to be a leadership election before the general election. And it would be no bad thing if Byrne were to stand as a candidate. I doubt if he would win, but unexpected things happen. He is in many ways similar to the Foreign Secretary in that he is a technocrat with a strong New Labour spine; as the Fink has noticed, he has the potential to be a better communicator. But he may need time to prove his worth.

Photograph: PA

Comments

Great Helmsman.
madjeffgreen wrote:
Thursday, 10 December 2009 at 06:47 pm (UTC)
I thought Woolas had a higher intellectual capacity...
burkesworks wrote:
Friday, 11 December 2009 at 12:59 am (UTC)
Another oily little Blairite managerialist, just like Purnell and Woolas. The likes of Byrne are symptomatic of why I could never bring myself to vote Labour again.
Inellectual bankrupt
pilsden wrote:
Friday, 11 December 2009 at 08:28 pm (UTC)
Couldn't answer a question even if it was his name .If this is the best then goodbye.Question Byrne why can't you do a PBR - answer well there is so much uncertainty.Question if there is so much uncertainty why are you expecting growth to recover so soon,Answer the cooper defence because its the right thing .Pass the sick bag.
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