Labour backbencher John Mann has switched his support from Ed Miliband – whom he nominated – to David Miliband following a ballot of 15,000 party members and known Labour voters in his Bassetlaw constituency. The results on a turnout of 32 per cent were: David Miliband (50.3%), Ed Miliband (20.2%), Ed Balls (15.4%), Andy Burnham (7.7%) and Diane Abbott (6.5%).
The total electorate in Bassetlaw is just over 76,500, of which 25,018 voted Labour; three-fifths of that number were balloted, with about a fifth of all Labour voters replying. No other Constituency Labour Party nor polling organisation has polled such a large number of Labour voters.
Mann told Left Foot Forward:
“I gave an undertaking to my Labour voters in Bassetlaw I would vote the way they mandated me to do, however, now I know the margin, the fact that it’s not narrow, that one candidate has got a huge proportion of the vote, over 50 per cent, I listen to my Labour voters, they give me a mandate and I shall follow that mandate.
“Well, this is the first primary, I’m sure it won’t be the last in British politics for leaderships, that’s what politics should be about, we don’t have all the wisdom as MPs, let the people decide, I trust my voters, I respect them, they’ve had their say and we in my area will abide by it.”
Furthermore, had they been required, on second, third and fourth preferences, David Miliband would also have come out on top, with 55 per cent of transfers from Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott.
Left Foot Forward understands that Sheila Gilmore, the Labour MP for Edinburgh East who originally nominated Diane Abbott, is also holding a primary of Labour Party members and strong Labour voters to determine who she should vote for and transfer to, while Anthony Painter has just tweeted that Dudley North will also be holding a primary.
Responding the Bassetlaw primary, Ed Miliband told a press conference, “You win some, you lose some”. Claiming the support of “about 150 constituency Labour parties”, over 60 MPs and several trade unions, at those close of nominations, Mr Miliband said:
“I’m not the candidate for an easy life: one more heave with some of the new Labour dogmas of the past. If you want that, I’m not your man.”