On Thursday it is reported the Right Honourable Hazel Blears MP former secretary of state for Communities and Local Government will face a motion of no-confidence at her Constituency Labour Party in Salford. This latest report in the Manchester Evening News states that she will win. Much more is at stake, I suspect, than local, tribal sentiment.
The outcome will be seismic whether she wins, loses or the debate is adjourned. The Labour Party's contribution to cleaning up British politics is in the spotlight. As a member of the Party's National Executive Committee, I wrote to the General Secretary expressing concern about the ramifications, in particular, for members of government arising from the NEC's unanimous decision on 19 May about how it would deal with the impact on them of the MPs' Parliamentary Allowances scandal. The contents of my letter were published on Labour's Membersnet. I have not had a reply as yet. In short, I thought that the Labour Party NEC Endorsements Panel could not consider any case concerning a member of the government until after the expected Cabinet reshuffle. Whatever it is, the NEC is not a politburo, and could not been seen to be dictating to the Prime Minister whom s/he should or shouldn't have in her/his government. That was over a week ago. Since when there has been an eerie silence.
Party members have been left with the uncomfortable knowledge that one backbencher, Dr Ian Gibson, has controversially been banned from standing as a Labour Party candidate at the next election, prompting his immediate resignation from the House of Commons and forcing a by-election. By all accounts if it had been left to his CLP, he might have got their backing. In the meantime, it appears that anyone in government who is believed to have questions to answer remains untouched by the powers that be, and in Blears' case the matter is being left to local members.
That was not the outcome I expected when I voted for the amended resolution setting up the NEC Endorsement Panel on 19 May. Nor do I believe it was what was expected by the electorate, whose support we wish to attract.
So I await news from up north later this week with exceptionally keen interest.