Nominations for the Deputy Leader open this afternoon and close on Thursday lunchtime. Peter Hain, Harriet Harman and Hazel Blears have already published at least the required 45 nominations, but Alan Johnson seems to be biding his time – he may have almost double that number. Jon Cruddas and Hilary Benn are still holding out for enough nominations.
Nominations also opened for the leadership of the party today but the only interesting aspect to that is who Meacher and McDonnell decide should challenge Brown. The procedure for both contests starts with the lists of backers being posted on Labour’s website, then the candidates attend ten hustings before the vote begins between MPs/MEPs, party members and affiliated unions. The victors will be announced in Manchester on Sunday 24th June (Blair stands down on the Wednesday).
Blears (pictured at her launch outside Parliament) summed up well the lack of policy substance so far:
"We have a real sense among us that this campaign has to be about talking about the issues the public are really concerned about."
An important question is whether the deputy race will divide the party or invigorate it. Which Deputy Leader would you vote for?