Ed Miliband’s close advisor turned by-election candidate snubs Yes2AV campaign

Jon Ashworth, Labour candidate for the Leicester South by-election (and, as Jonathan Ashworth, Labour leader Ed Miliband’s Head of Party Relations) is not exactly trying hard to back his ex-boss’s attempts to win over the Labour Party to AV. Asked whether or not he backed AV he told a public meeting:

Frankly, I don’t really care – I’ve got more important things to think about.

There are some good and genuine electoral reform campaigners in the Labour Party, but this dismissive comment from someone who – if there had been no by-election – would after all have been Head of Party Relations for a man who penned a manifesto calling for a referendum (and for it to be passed) and who is now trying to win over his party to electoral reform shows just how precarious their position is in the Labour Party.

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  • Is the fact that you’re headlining this an indication that you believe that the referendum is lost – and that it’s time to start pinning the blame on the Labour Party?

  • Perhaps if the Coalition had not been so stuburn over the date of the referendum more Labour suporters would see it as a priority. They stated openly months ago that their priority would be the elections. At the time I warned on this blog that this would happen…..

    Even Labour voters pro AV would rather see a good election result to make up for the last time these seats were contested and to begin rebuilding their party. Remember the low point they are startibng from in the Council elections and what swing they will need to affect.

  • Daniel Henry 30th Apr '11 - 4:27pm

    This isn’t a dig at Labour in general, but one of the Leicester Yes Campaigners (a neutral independent one) actually asked Jon Ashworth about AV shortly after he took candidacy, and his answer was basically that he’d need to work out whether it was in his personal interests.

    This particular politician is more interested in looking out for himself.

    As to Labour, there’s been a few progressives who have meekly campaigned in favour of AV, while the opportunists and tribalists have been VERY vocal in slamming AV and campaigning against it. John Prescott even allowed the Labour logo to be put on a No2AV with a Tory agent on the imprint.

    I like Ed and I think he has the right ideas on where Labour need to go, but he lacks leaderhship, I don’t think his party respect him and he’s going to have a job and a half in whipping that rag tag mob into a progressive force worth voting for.

  • Stuart Mitchell 2nd May '11 - 10:21am

    Daniel Henry: “This particular politician is more interested in looking out for himself.”

    As opposed to the entire Lib Dem party, who are unanimously backing the system which is expected to give them around 25 more MPs. No self-interest there, then.

    Of course you guys would be crazy not to back AV, but please spare us the self-righteous suspicion of other’s motives.

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