MPs switched sides in leadership race

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Indy Politics
THE RECORDED vote for Labour's leadership elections published yesterday shows a range of MPs nominated one candidate in the two leadership contests but voted for another, writes Nicholas Timmins.

Only a handful of Labour front- benchers and just two Shadow Cabinet members voted against John Smith becoming leader.

An analysis of the votes shows that Bryan Gould, as expected, fared better among constituencies in the South than the North, although neither exclusively, nor spectacularly so.

In the leadership election, however, he did fail to gain backing from a single constituency in either Wales or Scotland.

Before the election was over, Mr Smith's camp was firmly promising 'no pogroms' against those who did not back him, but Michael Meacher, the party's social security spokesman and a campaign manager for Mr Gould, and Jo Richardson, the spokeswoman on women's issues, nevertheless proved to be the only Shadow Cabinet members not to back Mr Smith.

Sixteen MPs abstained, most of them from the left-wing Campaign group.

Among MPs switching camps between nomination and voting were:

Keith Bradley, the Manchester Withington MP, Paul Flynn (Newport West), John Heppell (Nottingham East), Keith Hill (Streatham), Kim Howells (Pontypridd), and Terry Rooney (Bradford North). All nominated Mr Gould for the leadership, but voted for Mr Smith, according to Labour's published lists.

In the deputy leadership contest, Tony Banks (Newham NW) nominated Mr Gould but voted for Mrs Beckett, as did Bruce George (Walsall South), and Keith Vaz (Leicester East). Keith Hill (Streatham) and Alan Meale (Mansfield) nominated John Prescott but voted for Mrs Beckett.

Lynne Jones (Birmingham Selly Oak) and Joe Benton (Bootle) nominated Mr Prescott but voted for Mr Gould, while Colin Pickthall (Lancashire West) did the opposite.

Front bench team members who voted for Mr Gould for the leadership included Joan Lestor (children), Tony Lloyd (employment), Jim Marshall (Northern Ireland), Clive Soley (environment) and Peter Snape (transport).

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