Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Spotlight
  2. Elections
13 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

Race to the Labour leadership: here’s a little idea

What about seeing how the pretenders do against Cameron on the floor of the Commons?

By James Macintyre

The many hustings that are taking place for the Labour leadership contenders provide excellent arenas for the party and those associated with it to see how the candidates perform, and, more importantly, what they stand for. But there is another test for whoever would be opposition leader: how, and how well, they take on the government. So here’s a little idea, probably no more than a bit of Sunday-evening fun.

There are, I think, seven sessons of Prime Minister’s Questions between now and the summer recess. There are five contenders for the Labour leadership. Why not allow Harriet Harman, the acting leader, to take this week’s and the last before parliament rises, and have each of the five stand in against David Cameron in between now and then?

The only danger is that Cameron would deliberately allow weaker candidates to do better, as what we journalists call a kind of “reverse-spin”. As Alastair Campbell’s diaries confirm, he and Tony Blair deliberately put it about that it was Michael Portillo they feared for the Tory leadership, when in fact it was Kenneth Clarke. So, you could see Cameron apparently being knocked for six by Diane Abbott. Then again, he probably won’t want to be seen to be bested. Anyway, just a thought.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • 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 New Statesman Media Group 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.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Why public health policy needs to refocus
The five key tech areas for the public sector in 2023
You wouldn’t give your house keys to anyone, so why do that with your computers?