Essex's role in Brown premiership

GORDON Brown will be Prime Minister from June 27. Any lingering doubts were dispelled when Essex Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay added his name to the list of nominations, making it impossible for left-winger John McDonnell to get sufficient backers to spark a contest for the Labour leadership.

By Graham Dines

GORDON Brown will be Prime Minister from June 27. Any lingering doubts were dispelled when Essex Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay added his name to the list of nominations, making it impossible for left-winger John McDonnell to get sufficient backers to spark a contest for the Labour leadership.

However, the long interregnum is expected to paralyse Whitehall, as ministers put off making policy because of doubts whether they will remain in the same department - or have a job at all - in the Brown administration.

Even though he has been elected unopposed, under Labour Party rules, Mr Brown will not assume the leadership until the special leadership conference in Manchester on June 24. And he will have to wait another three days, until June 27 when Tony Blair tenders his resignation to the Queen, before he finally becomes Prime Minister.

You may also want to watch:

Thurrock MP Mr Mackinlay - whose nomination clinched the uncontested leadership for Mr Brown - immediately tabled a written parliamentary question calling for Mr Blair to take the Chancellor to the European Union summit in Brussels on June 21-22.

Coming just days before the end of Mr Blair's time in office, the stage is set for a bitter struggle at Brussels between EU states led by Germany which want to revive the stalled European Constitution and those like the UK and Holland which want a scaled-back treaty to amend institutional arrangements.

Most Read

Mr Mackinlay said: “It is not in the interests of the UK that somebody who is retiring should commit the country. It's simply wrong that the man who is going to have to deal with the consequences of the EU summit isn't the one who is going to be calling the shots. The UK would be substantially disadvantaged.

“I am of the school that the changeover should be swift and immediate, but that clearly isn't going to happen now. If it can't happen, then the least that should be done is having the Chancellor fully involved in events like Brussels and the G8 meeting in Germany.”


SUFFOLK'S two Labour MPs are both backing Harriet Harman's bid to become deputy leader of the Labour Party. Chris Mole (Ipswich) and Bob Blizzard (Waveney) are among 63 MPs who have nominated the constitutional affairs minister in the contest to succeed John Prescott.

“Harriet has campaigned strongly on issues such as equality, human rights and social justice,” said Mr Mole. “She is committed to priorities that include affordable homes, youth services, improving older people's care, cheap, clean public transport and tackling inequality.

“Harriet Harman has substance as well as personality. She led the drive to make tackling domestic violence a government priority and I know, through her constituency she has excellent links with and an understanding of the black and ethnic minority communities.”


HARWICH Conservative MP Douglas Carswell has lashed an attempt to exempt Parliament from the Freedom of Information Act, which would hide details of how politicians spend taxpayers' money and set back attempts for greater openness in government.

Mr Carswell has co-signed a letter with Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker (Lewes) and Labour's Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central) claiming Westminster remains more closed to scrutiny than the Scottish Parliament or the United States Congress.

Condemning moves by Tory MP David Maclean to ensure parliamentarians do not have to publish details of their expenses and other information, the MPs say it will lead to charges of hypocrisy which will cause public trust in politicians to erode even further than it already has.

Suffolk MPs have been pressed to oppose the changes by the county council's Liberal Democrat deputy leader Andrew Cann. “It's an absolute disgrace - it's one rule for the Tory and Labour MPs and another for the rest of us.

“I think it's only fair that Suffolk's MPs make their position on the Bill clear - are they for it or against it? Do they think themselves above everyone else? I find the attitude of the Conservative and Labour MPs who support this bill sad and shocking.

“The attempt to ban the public from knowing the details of how taxpayers' money is being spent on their travel will rightfully anger the very people who have to foot the bill.”


ALTHOUGH the European elections are two years away, the Greens have chosen their East of England candidates and are determined to raise the party's profile in the hope of securing a seat in the Brussels and Strasbourg parliament.

Five of those chosen for the party's list - the elections are conducted using proportional representation in one ballot across the six counties of the East of England - come from Essex and Suffolk, although realistically none of these has a chance of being elected.

Under the list system, seats are allocated to the political parties in proportion to the votes won. In 2004 in the east - Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire - the Tories won three seats, the UK Independence Party two, Labour one and the Liberal Democrats one.

It was the double whammy of a surge in support for UKIP, and with the campaign of Martin Bell who stood on an Independent ticket campaigning against the list system, which sank Green hopes of winning a seat in the region.

Green Party members chose the order in which their candidates will appear on the 2009 list, giving the number one slot to Norwich city councillor Rupert Read, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia. He will become a Euro MP if the Greens can secure around 11% of the total regional vote.

Second on the list is Peter Lynn, a research professor at the University of Essex who stood unsuccessfully in the borough elections in Colchester this month. Third is Braintree councillor James Abbott, who has a degree in astronomy and is the national party spokesman on climate change, and fourth is Marc Scheimann, an IT consultant from Luton.

Number five is Angela Thompson, a chartered librarian from Chelmsford, sixth is Mid Suffolk district councillor Andrew Stringer, and seventh Amy Drayson, a student from Ipswich.

British Greens have two Euro MPs, one representing London and the other the south east region. Mr Abbott, who is also the party's East of England spokesman, says: “In eastern region, the Greens are steadily increasing their electoral support, gaining councillors in the recent local elections.”

The Greens are Eurosceptic and against a federal Europe. Mr Abbott says: “Since the last elections in 2004, the threat of the single currency and further centralisation of the EU has receded, while concerns over the environment and climate change have raced up the political agenda.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus