If Cooper is positioning for leadership bid, it shows her unfitness for it

Yvette Cooper has not said she is planning a bid for the Labour leadership in the event Labour loses the 8 June General Election.

yvette cooper
Yvette Cooper

But then, if she were – and wanted others to know it – she wouldn’t say it either. She’d have others say it for her. That’s how the old style of politics works. Whether she’s behind it or not, a lot of people are suddenly talking about her putative bid. Here are just a few:

The media consensus appears to be that Ms Cooper’s grandstanding during Wednesday’s PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) was posturing for a leadership challenge. Judging by the response of a host of right-wing MPs – including some who are known to have been working to promote Gerard Coyne’s failed attempt to topple Len McCluskey – it either was or they wanted to make it one.

Harriet Harman, Mike Gapes, Ben Bradshaw and others all took part in the worship. Many were pushing a very similar – pre-agreed? – line:

yv perkinsyv bryantyv dromey

Bear in mind, Corbyn had just made mincemeat of Theresa May over the Dispatch Box – yet not one word on that from an array of MPs who were all a-flutter over Ms Cooper.

But here’s the thing: Ms Cooper attacked Theresa May in the Chamber, when television cameras were sure to catch it – but that appears to be the only thing she did all week in terms of her public presence and the General Election she attacked May for calling.

For example, where you’d expect a string of tweets from any Labour MP about the election, the Tories damage to the UK and Labour’s policies, Yvette Cooper’s Twitter feed has a gaping hole.

Well, there is a single tweet – of Ms Cooper’s ‘interview’ appearance in PMQs:

But between May’s ‘shock’ announcement and 8.22pm tonight, that’s the sum total of everything election-related that she managed in her timeline since May’s ‘shock’ announcement on Tuesday.

Over the past week, Ms Cooper found time to tweet about:

  • a talk she was chairing
  • some strange-looking eggs
  • a talk she was chairing
  • rugby league
  • that talk she was chairing. Again.

But not a single further word about the General Election. Except for her own question (or leadership pitch, as one Tory MP put it).

There has been some other Yvette-related Twitter activity in April, though – and it’s interesting. During her ill-fated leadership bid in 2015, Ms Cooper or her campaign team set up a campaign account ‘@YvetteforLabour’. You’d expect it to be inactive, given it’s over 18 months since she came third, behind Andy Burnham.

But it isn’t.

On 1 April, the account ‘liked‘ a tweet:

yc4l like.png

Nothing too remarkable about the ‘like’ – except the fact that someone had logged into the account over 18 months after her failed 2015 bid.

Her yvetteforlabour.co.uk website, while containing very little information at the moment, also appears to have been extended to 2018 and was amended in November last year.

All very interesting so far.

The narrative

Of course, that 2015 performance poses a major problem for Ms C, as coming a poor third hardly gives credibility to a 2017 bid. But sources tell the SKWAWKBOX that her team has come up with a story that they think is strong enough to overcome it.

The pitch will be, if sources are correct, along these lines:

2015 was a very tough time in Ms Cooper’s life because of the aftermath of her husband – former Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls – losing his parliamentary seat in the General Election, so her campaign wasn’t as strong as it might otherwise have been.

If this is considered to be a strong enough narrative to restore her credibility as a leadership challenger, this author’s opinion is that some people are easily pleased. Much more serious an issue for her credibility, though, is hinted at by that Twitter timeline – and the timing of the start of briefings that seem designed to position her for a challenge.

The vast majority of Labour members and supporters are focused on one thing at the moment – fighting the General Election and beating the Tories. Even many right-wing MPs seem to be putting their shoulder to the wheel – and some who can’t are stepping down out of the way of those who will.

Ms Cooper, though – at least as far as her Twitter feed suggests – has time to promote her appearances in the Chamber and elsewhere, but not for actually campaigning.

Whether she’s behind this sudden chatter about her leadership potential or someone is doing it for her, it’s not what Labour members would expect to see from a supposedly credible leadership candidate.

Labour members – and the wider voting public – would also not expect Ms Cooper (or her ‘allies’) to be doing the opposite of promoting Labour’s General Election campaign by touting her leadership credentials just as the campaign is getting underway.

Especially when it – and Labour’s leader – have made a start that has Theresa May in hiding and the Establishment rocked back on its heels.

By failing to do the one thing and by doing the other, Ms Cooper – and/or her allies – have demonstrated complete unfitness for leadership of the Labour party.

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  1. This just isn’t helpful. You’re feeding the thing you’re complaining about. A member of the Corbyn Over 50 FB supporters page chatted to her in a train yesterday (check it out) and she said Unity is important now. Please shut it and concentrate on what’s important FFS

    jan parker

    (t) 01766 771 801 (m) 07909 643 221

    *visit janparker.co.uk * for workshops, retreats, classes on death awareness, energy medicine, second half of life, & meditation

    1. Rubbish ….. What you don’t like is that people are no longer laying down and taking this sort of thing from bland people who think that because they want the leadership they ought to have it, regardless of the fact that the party membership in general have twice showed that they want the party moving in a different direction.

  2. I am weary of this now if Jeremy goes so do I and my family if the right wing gain control.
    I have been a lifelong supporter of the liberal/libdems & at 66 years young that is a long time that is until 2010 when they got into bed with the TORIES & then came a breath of fresh air called Jeremy Corbyn so for the first time ever I joined a party (Labour) BUT if things don’t change and all the backstabbing & underhand tactics by the right wing factions of the party are allowed to continue unabated then I will leave the party. I am so tired of it all.

  3. Labour MPs can get as excited as they like over the prospect of serving the Home Counties. Meanwhile I won’t be voting Labour for another 25 years and will reach the half century in 2042.

  4. blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } Hi Steve, I did a market research group a few weeks ago based on who should be the next Labour leader. Had a variety of potential leaders and included selected video clips to assess their suitability.The group was unwittingly directly toward Chuka Umunna as the most ideal candidate.Thought you might be interested  John

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  5. I was in Yvettes camp in the first election which Jeremy won hands down. I accepted the result and was prepared to get stuck in and rebuild the party. The right wing of the PLP and Iain McNicholl started to undermine Jeremy from day one. Personally I would have removed the whip and expelled some of them. The real damage has now come back to bite them. If Yvette pitches a bid for the leadership after the GE and say won. Who would accept the result as the anti democratic behaviour of the party has rendered the position of leader unrepresentative. I fear that if the worse should happen and we lose then the big problem the party has is to retain the very members they have abused. But any talk of a leadership bid at this time can only be ammunition to the tories who will say we have already conceded that we can’t win with Corbyn. This is a complete undermining of the GE campaign. I have said previously that the Labour party needs a massive clearout and rebuilding from the bottom up. With members democratic decisions being the absolute authority.

      1. Corbyn has voted on principal against mainly Nuclear weapons and war. A laudible Objective but the party was never going to lose the vote at those times.

  6. LOOK it’s dead simple there will be NO leadership election , even if we loose , WHY , because we still as a party have a way to go in fully democratising it and rebalancing it . That work will only continue under JC and no one else no matter what folks think. So lets stop wasting effort on Cooper and attack the Tories . Just back from street stall supporting Labour and efforts to stop the means testing of OAP Bus passes and winter fuel allowance . Very good reception on the street and most folks are pissed at May

    1. No leadership contest whatever the general election result because what matters is internal Labour politics?

      You didn’t tell the voters that today, did you?

      The OAPs probably like the news that Labour’s going to spend a fortune on the pensions triple lock. Anybody else who cares about poverty should be absolutely aghast at this waste.

  7. So a good question at PMQs is a threat to the leader? And she’s been a bit quiet on Twitter? But somebody on an old account liked a tweet 3 weeks ago?

    1. It’s no threat. But her ‘allies’ and the media are trying to make it one. They need to get over themselves – as does she, if she’s involved. It was a question.

  8. We should all be writing to the BBC and complaining about the absolute bias of the polls. they speak about polls showing may with a great lead yet ignore the national poll by itv that shows Corbyn on 67%, I don’t trust the polls either way but if you drip negative poison long enough it will stick.

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