Popular blogger Guido Fawkes insists there was no right-wing plot to ruin Chuka Umunna’s bid for the Labour leadership after the 36-year-old shocked the politics world by pulling out of the race, having been favourite since Ed Miliband jacked in the job last week.
Fawkes, or Paul Staines to his friends, has been a vitriolic critic of Umunna since the former employment lawyer first won his Westminster seat in Streatham five years ago, but even he was bemused as to what went wrong:
Ring around of Sunday pol eds all going one way: “It’s not us”.
— Media Guido (@MediaGuido) May 15, 2015
We can safely assume that Umunna’s withdrawal statement, which cited the pressure of added scrutiny, is a load of bunkum; he went into the race with his eyes wide open, having watched Miliband’s 2010 win at close quarters.
Our guess? As a fully paid-up, 36-year-old member of Labour’s metropolitan, London-centric elite, Umunna quickly realised he’s not the man to lead a United Kingdom-wide party in turmoil.
Talk has followed of a possible bid for the capital’s mayoralty, with incumbent Boris Johnson set to stand down next year. Ladbrokes go 8/1 on Mayor Umunna being in situ by May 2016.
So what next for Labour? Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham is 11/10 favourite for the top job, despite coming fourth of five challengers in 2010.
The Liverpudlian’s working-class roots are seen as a huge plus in the current political climate, but he’ll struggle to scrub the smell of loser off him within the party and is far too short to consider backing with four months to go in the process.
Next up is Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper at 9/4. Labour would be crazy to pick Ed Balls’ wife, as her weekly presence at Prime Ministers’ Questions would enable David Cameron to continually bang on about his favourite subject – her husband.
Furthermore, after 10/1 shot Tristram Hunt received warm applause on BBC Question Time for admitting Labour were spending too much before the financial crisis seven years ago, the fact that Cooper refuses to is not a good look.
This is becoming the great dividing line in this leadership battle (Burnham is yet to address the issue) and the right seems to be winning, but Hunt is clearly too posh to become leader of a party that’s supposed to represent working-class people – even Blair had a relatively common first name.
The compromise candidate could be 6/1 shot Liz Kendall, who has also flagged up her party’s profligacy prior to 2008 since entering the race.
Kendall, whose partner Greg Davies played Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners, is a grammar school girl from just outside Watford who worked in the healthcare sector before going into politics, and has been Shadow Minister for Care and Older People since October 2011.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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