Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cruddas declares intention to run for deputy leadership

The Dagenham MP John Cruddas today joined Peter Hain and Harriet Harman in declaring he will stand for the deputy leadership of the Labour party when deputy sheriff John Prescott steps down.

Cruddas believes his position as a backbencher will allow him more freedom of thought than those restricted by the demands of their government roles. He told Radio 5 Live, "I am standing to be deputy leader because change is desperately needed. As we stand, the party is not in a fit state to fight the next general election."

Cruddas was at one time close to Tony Blair and was the PM's deputy political secretary after the 1997 election victory. However, he has since become a vocal opponent of government positions such as top-up fees.

While many agree that change is required few will endorse Cruddas's claim that the party is not ready to fight the next election. Change is to come but with the next election probably two if not three years away there is time enough to prepare. Nonetheless, Cruddas could emerge as a dark horse in the race for the deputy leadership. He has already stated that he does not believe the role should be combined with that of the deputy prime minister and will have strong support among backbenchers and trade unionists for his tireless efforts in fighting the fascist menace in east London.

The talk of when Blair will step down has abated somewhat in the last few days as MPs have urged a focus on the policies at conference. However, as more people step forward to announce their designs on the deputy leadership it would surely only require one heavyweight contender for the leadership itself to make plain their battleplans for Blair to set about naming the all important date. Are you listening Gordon?

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