Geoff Hoon is worried that his local party activists will oust him ahead of the general election as punishment for his useless coup against Gordon Brown. I’m not sure he should be.
Labour people in Ashfield have been complaining about the former defence secretary for weeks, with rumbling about a deselection.
However, the timing is all a bit skew-whiff, from what I can work out.
1] They need to pass a local vote against their MP, which is not guaranteed to pass (surely some of them dislike Gordon Brown?) Even councillor Steve Carroll, who has been quoted everywhere criticising Hoon, tells me that he just wants the MP to come back to Ashfield and apologise to his comrades.
“We’re in a void where we haven’t really heard from Geoff,” he said. “If he appeared before local party members and showed some leadership in the constituency I think it would clear it.”
2] They then need to pass the motion on to the Labour NEC (national executive committee). The NEC only meets every two months and gathered yesterday. I’m told it wouldn’t want to deselect an established MP at the end of March, just before the general election.
3] In extremis the local party could pass a motion of reselection to the NEC without a vote. But they would, again, still have to wait until late March for an NEC vote.
If Hoon doesn’t fight the general election it will probably be because he doesn’t want to spend the next five years as a backbencher.