Labour's voting numbers to stay secret
Mon, 04 Feb 2013 6:20p.m.
By Patrick Gower
David Shearer was endorsed as Labour's leader in a vote today, although the party is keeping the actual voting numbers a secret.
That means it's impossible to know if there were any dissenters, and Mr Shearer's rival David Cunliffe is refusing to say whom he voted for.
The vote was held in the church of St Michael and All Angels. It was an endorsement vote, a vote on whether the MPs have confidence in their "St David" – Mr Shearer, that is.
And where there are angels, there are demons. Mr Shearer's is of course that other David – Mr Cunliffe.
Today's vote was held under new rules put in place at Labour's conference. Mr Shearer needed the endorsement of 60 percent, or 22 out of 34 MPs, to avoid triggering a leadership challenge involving the entire party.
It's a rule change that favoured Mr Cunliffe, although his effective challenge for the leadership has since been crushed.
Even so, today Mr Cunliffe still refused to say if he would endorse Mr Shearer, and Mr Shearer said he didn’t know how Mr Cunliffe would vote.
“I've got no idea, you'll have to ask David about that,” said Mr Shearer.
In the end, Mr Cunliffe's vote didn't matter. Camp Shearer won, meaning he got more than 22 votes.
But since Labour refuses to release the voting record, if there were Camp Cunliffe dissenters it would be kept in church – the public will never know.
Mr Shearer is now safe, and set to hold onto the job right to 2014, unless there is a dire change in the polls.
The question now is whether he is emboldened enough by what happened in today to make some major changes in his upcoming reshuffle. That basically means: does he have the guts to push out Labour's dead wood?
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