Factionalism in the Parliamentary Labour Party and the 2015 Leadership Contest

By Pemberton, Hugh; Wickham-Jones, Mark | Renewal, Autumn 2015 | Go to article overview

Factionalism in the Parliamentary Labour Party and the 2015 Leadership Contest


Pemberton, Hugh, Wickham-Jones, Mark, Renewal


Close analysis of the nominations for Labour's leader and deputy reveals a parliamentary party fracturing along sharper ideological lines than were evident in 2010.

What do nominations for the posts of Labour leader and deputy leader tell us about the state of the party? Do they suggest the existence of different ideological and political groupings within Labour? Or is there a more general and diffuse distribution to endorsements? Under the Collins reforms to the party's structure, voted on and passed by a special conference in March 2014, those wishing to be candidates for either leadership post need to be publicly nominated by 15 per cent of Labour Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons (Collins, 2014). Any viable contender for the post needed to mobilise sufficient support to meet that threshold. In the case of the two 2015 contests, with a Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) of 232 MPs, the threshold was 35. By the time nominations closed for the leadership at 12.00 noon on Monday 15 June 2015, four candidates had made the final ballot: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn, and Liz Kendall. When nominations closed two days later for the deputy leadership, five aspirants had made it: Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy, Angela Eagle, Caroline Flint, and Tom Watson.

In this article, we examine nominations for the leadership and deputy leadership in 2015 to evaluate what they reveal about the state of the Labour Party. In particular, we ask whether patterns in nominations reveal the existence of ideological divisions within the party. Do discrete factions exist within the PLP? By faction, we do not mean an organised structured grouping with a distinct internal institutional framework and rules of membership. Rather we see factions as clusters of MPs sharing a similar political and ideological outlook whilst acting, for the most part, in a collectively consistent manner. In the first part of the article we look at how voting in the 2010 Labour leadership aligned with nominations for the two contests in 2015. We then go on to examine potential groupings between the supporters of the different candidates for the posts of leader and deputy. We compare and contrast the configuration of nominations between the two contests to determine whether particular groupings endorsed different candidates for each. Last, we consider the possible ideological basis of any clusters. We look at the roles that a close identification with Labour's affiliated unions, including financial contributions to an MP's constituency on the one hand, and the role of Progress, as an internal group within the party on the other, may have had in shaping distinct and contrasting ideological orientations.

The alignment between the 2010 Labour leadership contest and the 2015 leadership election

Following the outcome of the 2015 general election, 165 Labour MPs who took part in the 2010 leadership contest remained in the House of Commons (along side two colleagues who had not voted--Harriet Harman and Nick Brown). How did their nominations in 2015 compare to their first choice votes in 2010 and can we detect evidence that those nominations indicate that factionalism has become more significant since 2010?

What do we learn from the nominations detailed in Table 2? Such endorsements are clearly an important public statement. However, they need interpreting with some care. Nominations need not reflect direct ideological alignment (MPs might support a colleague for personal reasons). In particular, some of the support offered to Jeremy Corbyn, standing on an anti-austerity ticket, needs to be assessed with caution. A late and rather reluctant entrant to the contest, joining the other aspirants on 3 June 2015, Corbyn struggled to meet the 35 MPs threshold and did so only a few moments before nominations closed: manifestly a number of those supporting him did so to assist him in making the ballot and not because they endorsed his political position. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Factionalism in the Parliamentary Labour Party and the 2015 Leadership Contest
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.