10 things you may not have noticed from the Labour leadership results

Leaving aside the actual results there are many points of interest in the detail of the Labour leadership election. Here are 10 things you may not have seen…

Even her own members don’t want Diane Abbott to be leader

She has the eighth biggest party (850) but only 21% of them voted for her as Leader.

The big parties are all in London

Of the 11 CLPs with more than 800 members 10 are in London, the exception being Luton.

Union members really weren’t that interested

The union turnout was astonishingly low –overall only 8.75%. For some unions it was lower – out of 352,654 members paying the political levy in USDAW only 15,202 cast valid votes.

There are an amazing number of ways to vote

A disabled, gay, Black Irish, Jew with an interest in medicine and housing could join no fewer than 7 organisations — as well as a union and being an individual member

Ed Balls got more votes in his wife’s constituency than his own

103 votes in Yvette Cooper’s constituency and 83 in his own. She has more members though so the % was lower.

LBGT Labour understand instructions best (or perhaps were least pissed off with the whole thing)

They had the lowest % of spoiled ballot papers among the affiliated organisations (4.7%); BAME Labour had the highest at 34.9%

Labour MPs and MEPs don’t want Diane Abbott as leader either.

Only 6 of them gave her a first preference and 4 a second preference. 2 people voted David Miliband 1, Diane Abbott 2 – what’s that about?

Not many constituencies wanted Ed Miliband

Only 74 CLPs voted for Ed Miliband on first preferences, only 8 of them in the South

Many MPs and MEPs only voted for one candidate

No fewer than 60 of them only had one first preference. 3 out of the 6 people who voted for Diane Abbott didn’t vote for anyone else. 36 of David Miliband’s supporters only had a first preference. Did they not understand AV? Or were they genuinely indifferent between the other candidates?

Really small CLPs are often in Lib Dem held constituencies

Out of the 14 smallest constituencies 8 have Lib Dem MPs. Alastair Carmichael in Orkney and Shetland has only 64 Labour members to worry about. One the other hand Lynne Featherstone has the second largest CLP with 1,199 members. The largest is Ealing Southall, although intriguingly they have a very low turnout at 42% (average 72%).

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24 Comments

  • 1 thing to know about lib dem and there leadership election 1997 turnout low only about 22000 voted Nick Cleg!

  • John Bridges 30th Sep '10 - 10:34am

    Two additional thoughts: Lib Dem held Manchester Withington has the 14th largest Labour membership with 751 members and the total Labour membership is 177,455. Bigger than the Lib Dems but not by as much as I thought…

  • “There are an amazing number of ways to vote

    A disabled, gay, Black Irish, Jew with an interest in medicine and housing could join no fewer than 7 organisations — as well as a union and being an individual member”

    Does this mean that person gets one vote for each organisation they are a member of, along with a vote for being a union member and another for being a Labour member?

    Sunder Katwala said he got three votes – from his union, from Labour, and from the Fabians.

  • @blancio – yes, that’s right. Jack Dromey had seven votes, and Harriet Harman had six – 13 between them!

  • Tony Greaves 30th Sep '10 - 11:56am

    Only 6 of them gave her a first preference and 4 a second preference. 2 people voted David Miliband 1, Diane Abbott 2 – what’s that about?

    This and the large number of “first prefs only” show they don’t understand preferential voting. In the latter case they think lower prefs can harm the chances of their first pref. In the Miliband-Abbott case they think voting 2 for Abbott will harm the others’ chances of beating DM.

    House of Lords by-elections are by AV and I get a fairly steady stream of peers asking me how it works. “Tony, you understand these things, can I ask your advice?” (Not LD ones I have to say!) eg “I want Charles Ponsonby-Glubb to win but I hear he is worried he won’t get enough second preferences – so do you think I should vote for someone else number 1 and give him my number 2?”

    Tony Greaves

  • Grammar Police 30th Sep '10 - 12:14pm

    @ Chris, I think you might be a bit confused there.

    @ mike hartley – that same YouGov poll also says that: 59% of people agree that Labour has “seriously lost touch with ordinary working people” (including 30% of Labour’s own supporters); 70% that “Labour need to make major changes to their policies and beliefs to be fit for government again” (including half of all Labour voters); 61% agree that “Labour still haven’t faced up to the damage they did to the British economy” and 50% agree that “If Labour returned to government they would put the country into even more debt”.

  • Roy's Claret Army 30th Sep '10 - 1:02pm

    Couple of points

    People voting for DM knew that there was no chance he would be 3rd, so there is no point casting follow up votes.

    Low turnout/high membership probably points to a Social Club.

  • I look forward to the articles next week casting the same bland negativity towards the Conservatives, their voting records on Iraq, their insiduous attittude towards welfare claimants + the deep and tangible divisions in their party towards the AV vote + the Coalition in general.

    No?

  • @John Ruddy. It was three big unions that won it for Ed. Unite Unison and the GMB. The results show that it was the three unions that endorsed him, particularly Unite, which made all the difference. Of all the first preferences that were cast for the new Labour leader in the affiliates’ section well over half were by Unite members . The three unions were helped enormously by the fact that turnout in the affiliates’ section was very low and as by-election geeks know, in low turnout elections a well organised campaign can cause an upset.
    .

  • Yes John, you are correct, if the other unions had campaigned for their man/woman or even just encouraged their members to cast their vote it would have been a different story. USDAW members cast around the same as the Fabians with 10,000 less members!

  • Simon McGrath 30th Sep '10 - 10:01pm

    @Tony Greaves perhaps the Tory No campaign will include the line ‘so difficult even members of the House of Lords can’t understand it’!

    @Cuse – nothing to stop you writing such an article

  • Sunder Katwala 30th Sep '10 - 10:46pm

    (i) “2 people voted David Miliband 1, Diane Abbott 2 – what’s that about?”

    Keith Vaz and David Lammy. These is a symbolic/expressive gesture of solidarity with a black candidate, from MPs who want David Miliband to win. Lammy had nominated Abbott as he thought she could get into the race, but was a David Miliband supporter and voter. His Tottenham constituency is near hers. Keith Vaz is chair of the affiliated BME group, which he organised and lobbied to vote for David Miliband (overwhelmingly, albeit in tiny numbers).

    Clearly, these votes were never going to be counted, nor are they intended to help DM block his rivals. (They know Ed Miliband isn’t going to get/need a 2nd/3rd pref from DM supporters).

    Similarly, Michael Meacher voted Ed Miliband 1, Diane Abbott 2. That is a symbolic/expressive second preference for the Campaign Group member who is running, from somebody who wants to vote for Ed Miliband. He could vote (1) and (2) the other way around, and the vote would count for Abbott and be transferred, but he clearly prefers Ed M more than that, and is happy to make a Campaign Group gesture.

    (ii) “This and the large number of “first prefs only” show they don’t understand preferential voting. In the latter case they think lower prefs can harm the chances of their first pref. In the Miliband-Abbott case they think voting 2 for Abbott will harm the others’ chances of beating DM.”

    (ii) is wrong. Everybody knew for certain who the final two would be – because the MP nominatons and almost all voting intentions were public (and MPs knew their votes would be public), and we had opinion polling too. So the Milibands were always going to be 20% ahead of the other three on the first round, and the chances of anybody else finishing ahead of either were clearly nil. All 2nd preferences by those voting for either Miliband 1st were futile in terms of their ability to affect the vote.

    However, as the votes and preferences would all be published, this allows MPs to make any expressive statement they want – either to constituents or to the candidates themselves. For example, most new MPs and middle-ranking ex-Ministers voting for a Miliband gave a 2nd preference to the other Miliband, and left it at Miliband 1 and 2.

    This was not because Ed/David might need their support to beat Ed Balls/Andy Burnham if their 1st preference was eliminated. It was because they wanted to say “I voted for David/Ed, but it was close and I’m very happy with Ed/David, who was my 2nd preference” if their candidate didn’t win.

  • Sunder if they wanted to to give a ‘token’ vote to Diane Abbott then they should have placed her as their 1st preference as it was obvious to everyone she would be eliminated 1st so then their vote would have transferred to David Miliband who they actually wanted to win. The fact they didn’t do this shows that they really didn’t understand that voting system.

  • I live in Glenda Jackson’s constituency and I believe I’m right in pointing out she didn’t nominate a candidate nor vote in the leadership election. Is this true? If so it shows a stunning disregard for her constituency members and one that is entirely consistent with her complete disinterest in her representative responsibilities.

  • The multiple votes don’t have the same weight though. It’d be like having your say as a member of a local chamber of commerce and also writing to the council as a private citizen.

  • Sunder Katwala 1st Oct '10 - 12:00pm

    Peter 1919

    I agree in principle that it is the second preference – or first real vote in some circumstances – which counts (as I hope many of the French expressively voting Trotskyist for President are thinking) but you are simply wrong to say they didn’t understand the system by not voting DA 1 and then DM 2.

    My point is that they did not support or want to vote for Diane Abbott, even casting a token vote. They wanted David Miliband to have the strongest possible lead from the first round on – expressing their level of support, potentially affecting legitimacy percpetions, etc. Also at least some MPs they will think about these votes having career implications. Hence all the Miliband 1 2 voting by people who knew the second preference would never count.

    They wanted to say “yes, I gave her a second preference” though I wanted to vote for the best candidate – for a range of reasons. They didn’t want to use a preference which would count to do that.

  • Sunder Katwala 1st Oct '10 - 12:03pm

    Glenda Jackson did vote, somewhat bizarrely casting a ballot registered under the name Mrs G Hodges MP, for Ed Balls 1 and Ed Miliband 2. That was once her married name, in a previous relationship.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/manchester-diary-keep-your-enemies-close-and-your–brother-even-closer-2091293.html

  • Simon McGrath 1st Oct '10 - 2:49pm

    @sunder – thanks for the clarification.

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