Miliband to scrap shadow cabinet elections
By Ned Simons - 23rd June 2011
Ed Miliband is set to abolish Labour Party rules that see the shadow cabinet elected by MPs.
The Labour leader will ask his MPs to vote on the change in a secret ballot and will then be put to the wider party at the conference in September.
Under current rules Labour leader's in opposition have to allocate jobs in their top team from a group of MPs elected by a ballot of the parliamentary party.
If Miliband pushes through the change it will allow him to bolster his position by appointing any MP to his shadow cabinet that he likes such as rising starts of the 2010 intake as well as bringing back big names.
It would also allow him to kick out those members he feels are under-performing or not sufficiently on his side.
Commenting on the move on Twitter last night Labour said the key reason for getting rid of shadow cabinet elections was that the party "should be talking to the public not ourselves".
Several Labour MPs welcomed the move including Kevin Brennan who said it showed his leader was "focused on getting into government not on self indulgent opposition" and Tom Watson who said the elections were a "massive distraction" from the job of opposition.
Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary said: "Ed is doing right thing ending Shadow Cabinet and Chief Whip elections. Its a beauty contest that sometimes ugly people like me get through!"
But not everyone welcomed the plan. Labour MP John McDonnell branded the move “disappointing” and said it removed democracy from the PLP and "flies in face of all his promises to restore democracy in party".
"Miliband team spinning this as his clause 4 moment demonstrating strong leadership. Hoped we had put Blairite centralising control behind us."
And the left wing MP added: "All power to the leader is one of the most dangerous concepts in politics.1/2 million died in Iraq as a result of blind loyalty to a leader."