Mole wants leadership contest

WHEN the time comes for Tony Blair to call it a day, Gordon Brown should not expect to be elected unopposed to the leadership of the Labour Party, according to one of the region's Labour MPs.

By Graham Dines

WHEN the time comes for Tony Blair to call it a day, Gordon Brown should not expect to be elected unopposed to the leadership of the Labour Party, according to one of the region's Labour MPs.

Chris Mole, MP for Ipswich, said he wanted there to be at least one challenger to the Chancellor, some of whose supporters in the parliamentary party are calling the Prime Minister to set a timetable to stand down.

“The voters will not respond to a coronation,” said Mr Mole. “They will expect an election and it would be better for Gordon Brown if at least one other candidate comes forward.”


You may also want to watch:


Mr Mole is not joining in calls for the Prime Minister to give a timetable for when he is going to stand down. “There is much talk of a letter being circulated among MPs, but I have not seen it and there is now a growing doubt that such a letter even exists.”

He said he had “always been of the view” that although the Prime Minister had said he intended to serve a full term in office, the reality was that he would step down to give his successor a reasonable time in the job before have to face the country at a General Election.

Most Read

The Ipswich MP, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Local Government Minister Phil Woolas, said: “Tony Blair remains the most successful leader the Labour Party has ever had, winning us three successive victories. The clamour in the media - a combination of the usual disaffected suspects on the backbenches of the parliamentary party and frenzied speculation in Fleet Street - was not replicated on the doorstep when I was canvassing for the local elections.

“In Ipswich, there was no sign of people saying `Blair must go' and Labour was receiving a positive reception until the week from hell with all the media coverage of Patricia Hewitt, John Prescott and Charles Clarke.

“We then got the message that people were worried about the health service and the release of foreign prisoners. The party paid a heavy price for that and the Prime Minister has responded to those concerns with the Cabinet reshuffle.”

Mr Mole refused to classify himself as either a Blairite or a Brownite. “I have been dubbed a Blairite because I support the Prime Minister's modernising agenda. But Gordon Brown also wants our public services modernised - there's a difference in style and approach rather than substance.”

Paul Kirkman, Labour opposition leader on Essex County Council said: “Any political party worth its salt undertakes a review following elections. As part of this review a debate is being held within the Party concerning the transition of power from the Prime Minister to the next Labour Party Leader

“I support both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in their wish to find what they describe as 'a stable and orderly transition'. The local election results have been a wake up call for the Labour Party and the Party needs to renew itself while in office. This process can only really begin with a change at the very top. The Chancellor believes that the Prime Minister should be allowed to organise the transition and I agree with the Chancellor.”

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