H & St P: Race for the second prefs

BEFORE Tulip Siddiq won the Labour selection in Hampstead and Kilburn last year, the final hustings and members vote was ramped up by some insiders as a close call. In the end, she raced away with it. Maybe the same thing will happen on Saturday in Holborn and St Pancras, and that for all the gossip about how tight things will be in the battle to succeed Frank Dobson, the favourite will gallop clear.

Maybe. But that would not explain why appeals from Sir Keir Starmer’s team have gone out to people they know will not put him down as first choice, asking at least for him to be ticked as their second preference. Sarah Hayward’s team are doing it too, asking people who are sure to vote for Sir Keir or Raj Chada to pick her as their second choice. It means that members who felt the pleading calls and the doorknocks would end when they made clear who their favourite was are still being hassled for that second preference pick. I’ve had one report of a member being contacted FIVE times by the same candidate, even though they told them quite clearly they are supporting someone else.

The canvassing continues, regardless.

Some have felt it’s all been a tad relentless.

And it’s been relentless because there is a growing belief among the various campaign teams that it will be unlikely for any one candidate to secure the majority they need on a single vote come Saturday afternoon in St Pancras Church.

I’ll sit on the fence if you ask me who will win, but Sir Keir is likely to be in the lead after round one. If he does not establish a big enough lead, however, he is still vulnerable to defeat in round two from two, maybe three, of his opponents.

And that’s why it appears more interesting than the Hampstead and Kilburn shootout last year – there are so many 1-2 permutations which could swing the result – and why members can expect pressure from the campaign hacks right to the last second.


5 Comments on H & St P: Race for the second prefs

  1. I’ve also had multiple contacts from many hopefuls although I’ve made plain my preferences. It’s going to be a close race and I hope the winner will be the one who hasnt prostituted his morals for a lucrative career in parliament, but has presented his reasons for standing in an honest, self-efacing way which we know from personal friendship is how he is. Above all, the doctor gets my vote, because he’s the only one who knows how to restore the NHS to us as a public service, not an asset to be used for private gain. We desperately need him because to date there is not one doctor in the parliamentary Labour Party.

  2. Patrick Lefevre // December 12, 2014 at 5:10 am //

    Unless Camden has adopted a very weird version of the alternative vote, one which is, for example, completely different from that used to elect Milliband, and if, as is assumed in your comment, the final shootout is between Kier and Sarah, there can be no possible point in one going after the second preferences of the other. The second preference doesn’t come into play until the candidate is eliminated. On your scenario, a second preference for Sarah from a Keir supporter (or vice versa) will never come into play. If no one is elected on first preferences in the first round and if they are the last two left standing the outcome will be decided by the second or subsequent preferences of those who voted for candidates who have been eliminated. The whole point of the system (when there is only post to be filled) is to ensure that the preferences of all those who have voted are considered at each stage. The voting system makes redundant/obviates the need for the sort of tactical voting seen X voting systems. Voters simply rank candidates in order of preference and the voting system allocates their vote to the candidate still in the race they preferred. So long as a voter has expressed a preference for a candidate still in the running, their vote counts. This is true even if the voter’s strongest preferences have been eliminated. Not ranking all the candidates in order of preference (assuming you do still have a preference) will not help the candidate you support most strongly but may instead simply mean you don’t any influence on the outcome in the final stages. Not being a member of the Labour Party and not having a vote in the subsequent General Election, my interest is academic rather than partisan.

    • Richard Osley // December 12, 2014 at 9:45 am //

      Text of email to know Sarah supporter

      As we are about to enter the last week of the selection exercise to find a successor for Frank Dobson, I wondered if you have decided who to vote for as your second preference?

      I would love to get your support but if you have already decided to vote for one of the other candidates first, could I ask you to consider me as your second preference?

      If so, or if you would like a chat to discuss this, please just return email and I will follow up.

      In the meantime you can visit my website is at http://www.keirstarmer.com

      All best,


      • Dean Williams // December 12, 2014 at 11:32 am //

        Having a second preference cannot hurt your first preference. Those second preferences are only counted if your first preference candidate is eliminated.

        this bit is wrong:

        “Never mind that it could be counter-productive for, say, a Sir Keir fan to put Sarah down as second, and vice versa – in a way they could actually end up stopping their first choice winning, by aiding a rival in round two.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: