Letter: Transition from deputy to leader

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Sir: Ellis Thirkettle (Letters, 17 May) is wrong when he suggests that Gordon Brown and Tony Blair will not diminish the modernisers' chances of winning the Labour leadership if they both stand. It would be impossible to elect a new leader under the system of the Single Transferable Vote, as Mr Thirkettle proposes, as this is a form of proportional representation - a result cannot be proportional if only one person can be elected.

The system the Labour Party will have to use is the Alternative Vote, a system of merely preferential voting. Under this system Brown and Blair will only maximise the chances of their wing of the party, if every single person who votes for Gordon Brown votes secondly for Tony Blair, and vice versa. Under the present blurring of party opinion this is unlikely to happen.

The only way forward for the modernisers is for Mr Brown to withdraw, allowing the frontrunner, Tony Blair, a clear run.

Yours faithfully,


Ottery St Mary, Devon

18 May