Factions of the UK Labour Party

Posted on 27/09/2010


This is slightly removed from my usual topics of finance, investment and economics, but this set of data released by the UK Labour Party on the voting records of MPs and MEPs in the recent party leadership election won by Ed Miliband was simply too juicy to pass up.  The election was conducted on an alternative vote basis, with the voters ranking the candidates in order of preference (1-5, though I have added a “6” where a voter has not expressed any preference for a candidate).

Based on the voting records, I have classified those who voted only for Blairite (and favourite for the role) David Miliband as “Staunch DM”, those who place him first but express other preferences as “Favour DM” and those who vote first for Andy Burnham or Ed Balls  but prefer David over his brother Ed as “Leaning [towards] DM”.  I have carried out the same process for his brother, Ed.  Those who voted first for Diane Abbott have been classified as “Left-Wingers”.  Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper voted only for Mr Balls and are therefore classified as “N/A other”.

The party therefore breaks down into the following groupings:

This won’t make happy reading for eventual winner Ed Miliband – his support within the ranks is not only lower than his brother, but his supporters were also less committed – as shown by the greater number of his supporters choosing to express second preferences and those choosing him as their second preference behind Andy Burnham or Ed Balls.  Given how the brothers campaigned with different economic ideologies (with Ed much further to the left than his brother), I feel this sets the scene for potential major divisions in the Labour Party in the next few years.

We can also see how each MP and MEP fits into each of the above factions – I have made the dataset available in Microsoft Excel format here.  This should prove to be a very useful list of MPs to keep an eye on as dissent and divisions inevitably build within the Labour ranks.