CLP nominations reinforce MPs’ endorsements

CLP nominations reinforce MPs' endorsements. In nominating constituencies there was a 73% chance of supporting the same candidate as their MP.

Having the support of the MP was the most significant influence over Constituency Labour Party nominations in Labour-held seats, according to Fabian Society analysis for Left Foot Forward of the supporting nomination process which closed yesterday. In seats where there is no Labour MP, Ed Miliband is ahead while his brother, David, wins in the seats that Labour lost in 2010.

Where CLPs with a Labour MP chose to make a supporting nomination, there was a 73 per cent chance that they would support the same candidate as their MP. In only 45 cases (18.5 per cent of the 243 Labour MPs who had nominated a candidate) did a CLP nominate a somebody other than the candidate who their MP is publicly supporting.

120 CLPs doubled up and backed their MP’s choice. However, that is only 49.3 per cent of all CLPs where MPs had nominated, since 78 CLPs in this category (32 per cent) did not make any recommendation of their own.

The analysis suggests some caution in how strongly the CLP nomination race should be read as demonstrating how popular candidates are among the party membership. Nominations by party activists are one of the first important indicators of the views of party members, on whom data is scarce, but the nomination results also significantly reflect the existing pattern of Parliamentary support, and so blend existing information about the first (Parliamentary) section of the electoral college with new information about the second (member) section.

The MP influencer effect can be removed by looking at CLP nominations in non-Labour seats. Again, the Milibands were the front-runners in CLP nominations with no MP. This time, Ed Miliband (84) had a lead over David Miliband (71), having finished behind his brother in overall nominations, with Andy Burnham on 21, Diane Abbott on 12 and Ed Balls on 4 CLP nominations.

However, David Miliband won more of the constituencies where Labour lost the seat in 2010, leading Ed Miliband by 24 to 17 in these constituencies, with Burnham winning 6, Abbott 2 and Balls 1. Many of these seats will be key targets at the general election, subject to boundary changes.

The strong link between MP and CLP nominations could involve some causation in both directions: MPs could have been influenced by activists’ views. But this also reflects that many MPs have been influential as advocates and, in several cases, organisers in helping to “deliver” nominations for their preferred candidate. MPs’ public advocacy should also have some effect on how members vote, but this should prove a considerably weaker effect in an all-member postal ballot than in caucus meetings of local parties, particularly where CLPs restricted participation to members of the General Committee. Others held all-member meetings.

Ed Miliband (with 17) and David Miliband (with 16) won the most “away victories” where another candidate had the MP. Andy Burnham won eight “switcher” CLPs, including three giant-killings from each Miliband, while Diane Abbott and Ed Balls converted two each.

The most important example of a switcher CLP was David Miliband’s victory in the Bassetlaw primary, because it also converted John Mann MP’s own vote. None of the other CLP nominations carry any weight in the electoral college. The scale of participation made it unlikely that the MPs preference would prove decisive, as was most often the case elsewhere.

Note: Both Milibands were able to convert public support from an MP into a CLP nomination in around 60% of cases. Andy Burnham achieved a 40% conversion rate and Ed Balls 33%. With 3 CLP nominations linked to Parliamentary supporters, Diane Abbott was able to convert only around 15% of CLPs of MPs who have both nominated and support her. (The analysis reallocated formal nominees back to actual support where relevant, such as in the case of David Miliband supporters who nominated Diane Abbott. The majority of their CLPs then nominated David Miliband, their preferred candidate. Harriet Harman, Jon Cruddas, Rushanara Ali and Jack Straw have been counted as non-aligned MPs; while they nominated Diane Abbott, their CLP nominations have not been counted as switchers from Abbott. The classification of a small number of other MPs may be debatable: this would affect the figures marginally).

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Nominations in opposition seats

Ed Miliband 84
(70 Cons, 14 LibDems; including 17 from CLPs in seats lost by Labour in 2010).

David Miliband 71
(63 Cons, 8 LibDems; including 24 from CLPs in seats lost by Labour in 2010).

Andy Burnham 21
(16 Cons, 3 LibDem, 1 SNP, Northern Ireland; including 6 from CLPs in seats lost by Labour in 2010).

Diane Abbott 12
(10 Cons, 2 LibDem; including 2 from CLPs in seats lost by Labour in 2010).

Ed Balls 4
(2 Cons, 1 LibDem, 1 SNP; including 1 CLP in seat lost by Labour in 2010).

***

Nominations in Labour-held seats

David Miliband
16 gains (6 from Ed Miliband; 5 from Diane Abbott*, 3 from Andy Burnham, 2 from Ed Balls).
9 from CLPs with unattached Labour MPs
56 CLPs with supporting MPs.
(* excludes David Miliband supporters who nominated DA).

Ed Miliband
16 gains (7 from David Miliband; 3 from Diane Abbott; 4 from Ed Balls; 2 from Andy Burnham)
9 from CLPs with unattached Labour MPs
37 CLPs with supporting MPs;

Andy Burnham
8 gains (3 from David Miliband; 3 from Ed Miliband; 2 from Ed Balls*; 0 from Diane Abbott)
(includes CLP of Kate Green, who nominated Burnham but is publicly supporting Balls).
2 from CLPs with unattached Labour MPs
13 CLPs with supporting MPs.

Ed Balls
2 gains (1 from David Miliband; 1 from Ed Miliband; 0 from Abbott or Burnham).
0 from CLPs with unattached Labour MPs
11 from CLPs with supporting MPs.

Diane Abbott
2 gains (1 from David Miliband; 1 from Ed Miliband; 0 from Balls or Burnham).
0 from CLPs with unattached Labour MPs
3 CLPs with supporting MPs

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