Is an English Labour party on its way?

Jon Cruddas appears to have let slip that an English Labour party is on its way. But Labour insiders say the idea is not on the agenda - yet.

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

An English Labour Party is on its way, according to Jon Cruddas. Cruddas, in conversation with the Telegraph's Mary Riddell at the IPPR, pointed out that a Welsh and a Scottish Labour exist "in the rule book", but not an equivalent in England, before adding "We are going to do it...it will be imminent". 

It is not wholly clear who "we" refers to. Cruddas left the frontbench after the election to begin an independent review into Labour's defeat, and, in any case, as chair of Labour's policy review, was largely superfluous following the party's electoral rout. He is not a chair of the party's NEC or a candidate for either leader or deputy leader. Senior NEC members, speaking to the New Statesman, say they are unaware of any plan to establish an English Labour party, although Ben Bradshaw, a candidate for the deputy leadership, is thought to favour the idea, while Jamie Reed, the MP for Copeland, has already launched an English Labour with a video.

But Labour sources suggested that Cruddas was "freelancing". One party elder, commenting on the rumours, said: "I have, with great sadness, come to the conclusion that Jon Cruddas is a massive bullshitter". The move will draw comparisons with Cruddas' announcement that he would be a candidate for the post of elected party chair, a position that David Miliband pledged to create as Labour leader. When Ed Miliband triumphed over his brother, the post was scrapped.  

However, Cruddas remains an influential figure in some Labour circles and the idea of an English Labour party may yet find that its time has come. Reed's launch video can be watched below:

 

Government must reconnect with areas such as ours

Posted by Jamie Reed on Thursday, 18 June 2015

 

 

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.

Free trial CSS