Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Election 2024
13 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

Will a Labour leadership candidate follow Alan Johnson’s example?

An opportunity in PR emerges in this narrow contest.

By James Macintyre

As Mehdi Hasan pointed out earlier on this blog, the most interesting story in today’s papers is the claim that Alan Johnson, the reform-minded former home secretary, is considering quitting the front bench in order to campaign for proportional representation. As Mehdi also pointed out, this marks a fresh contrast with the Labour leadership candidates, not one of whom — depressingly for electoral reformers — backs PR.

That there is agreement between the five pretenders on the matter presents an opportunity for one to take a stand. Andy Burnham has indicated that he is coming round to the Alternative Vote, having issued a tribal message to the NS hustings last week. It shows that candidates can change their minds.

Rumour has it that at least one of the more realistic candidates is considering breaking ranks and following Johnson on PR. Johnson is backing David Miliband, who would boost his pluralist credentials by sticking his neck out. After all, a key to this leadership election is showing you can win over those floating voters who voted Lib Dem and did not want to crown David Cameron.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action