London, May 17 (IANS) The election of the next leader of the Labour party was supposed to be a contest but has turned out to be a coronation with Chancellor Gordon Brown enlisting overwhelming support of party MPs, setting aside a feeble challenge sought to be mounted by the left.
Brown’s passage into 10 Downing Street was widely expected but has now turned into a mere formality, disappointing many inside and outside the party who were keen to see a contest. The inability of challenger John McDonnell to enlist the minimum support of 45 MPs ensures that there will not be a contest.
By Wednesday evening, Brown had 308 nominations, which prompted McDonnell to concede defeat as he was 16 nominations short of the 45 required. Nominations officially close on Thursday, but there were not enough remaining MPs to allow McDonnell to contest.
McDonnell said he was disappointed on behalf of Labour Party members and it was a “blow to democracy”. He congratulated Brown, but said it was a shame party members would be denied “an opportunity of participating in a democratic election for the leader of this party”.
“I had hoped by standing I would have given them a voice in this crucial decision,” he said.
On June 27, Prime Minister Tony Blair is scheduled to meet Queen Elizabeth and resign as prime minister, handing over his seals of office. His successor, Brown, will then go to the Buckingham Palace to be invited to form a government and receive the seals of office, becoming prime minister at that moment.