CLUED-UP political writer Sam Coates at The Times hints this morning at the potential for some sensational news this week, suggesting Glenda Jackson could be among MPs announcing her retirement from Parliament, even at this late stage in the battle over Hampstead and Kilburn.
Named as a potential ‘bed blocker’ or a ‘walking by-election’, Jackson is drawn into the suggestion here that Labour is trying to flush away its old stagers (over 65s) in the House of Commons to make room for a new wave of preferred candidates.
Coates says those in their elder years refusing to stand down have special personal reasons for holding their ground. One wants to meet the Pope, another has his eye on Europe and Sir Gerald Kaufman apparently hates the idea of his constituency’s future being dictated by an all women shortlist.
And Coates tells us:
The other Labour MPs who are over 68 and have not announced that they are standing include Austin Mitchell, Glenda Jackson, Frank Field, David Winnick, Paul Flynn and Sir Stuart Bell. Some may announce their retirement today.
All very interesting, but what would Glenda’s reason for bed-blocking be? It’s true there was surprise in some quarters when it first became apparent she was standing again but surely someone as serious as Jackson wouldn’t hang on and on just to keep a younger, new candidate from taking over the reins.
We could all think of a few feisty Labour-linked, Blair-linked Camden based people who might fancy the job (one name always comes up when this is talked about) but Jackson wouldn’t do that. Would she? What is for sure, if Glenda, with her gravitas, experience and doorstep pulling power, did step down today, her successor would face a near impossible job in the next four weeks.