Local Labour Party Backed Wrong Miliband

David Miliband (picture: World Economic Forum)

Both Phil Woolas and the local Labour party in Oldham East and Saddleworth overwhelmingly supported a Miliband in the Labour leadership contest. However, it was David Miliband they backed, not his brother Ed, who narrowly won the contest.

Mr Woolas was one of the first MPs to declare his support for David Miliband’s campaign. They knew each other well from having worked closely together during the last government, particularly during David Miliband’s stint as Local Government Secretary, when Mr Woolas was his minister of state.

The detailed election results released by the Labour Party show that Mr Woolas gave David Miliband his first vote, but didn’t use any of his other preference votes. He didn’t give any support to Diane Abbott even though he had been one of the MPs to formally nominate her, something he did after David Miliband urged his backers to give Ms Abbott enough nominations to allow her to enter the contest.

Ed Miliband (picture: Ed Miliband for Leader)

As for the constituency party as a whole, the records show that 197 local Labour members cast their votes, with 83 making David Miliband their first preference choice. Only 51 supported Ed Miliband, with 29 going for Andy Burnham, 22 backing Ed Balls, and just 12 giving their first preference to Ms Abbott.

There was also support for David Miliband from the two new Labour MPs in neighbouring constituencies. Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk voted in the same way as Mr Woolas, giving David Miliband his first preference vote and not using the rest. Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonny Reynolds also picked David Miliband as his first choice, although he gave Ed Miliband his second preference.

Meanwhile, veteran Oldham West and Royton MP Michael Meacher did back the winner, casting his first vote for Ed Miliband, while he gave his second to Ms Abbott.

Ultimately, it was Ed Miliband who emerged victorious when the results were announced in Manchester on Saturday, with an extremely small margin of victory over his brother. He’ll make his first party conference speech as leader later today.

For full details of the election results, go to the Labour Leadership website here.

And if all this dealing with different preferences in voting is new to you, it might be about to become more familiar. A referendum on whether to introduce the system, the so-called Alternative Vote method, for Westminster elections is due to be held next May.

One Comment

  • Helen says:

    David Miliband was doomed when Woolas decided to back him. Do you not recall Peter Hain’s Deputy Leadership attempt? Woolas chaired Hain’s campaign, and the Times article from 12 Jan 2008 blamed Woolas for running up debts that led to undeclared donations.

    From the BBC:

    “A police investigation began and Mr Hain resigned from his cabinet post in January saying he had made “an innocent mistake”.

    “The Crown Prosecution Service last month told him no charges would be brought as there was insufficient evidence he had broken electoral law.”

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