The Minister for Equality and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman has denied a newspaper report that she would fight for the leadership of her party.
The Daily Telegraph claims that Ms Harman who is also Leader of the House of Commons, has told friends that she would run for the leadership of the Labour Party in the event of a backbench revolt against the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
Mr Brown’s position as Prime Minister has been weakened considerably over the past week. The Government was defeated in a vote over Ghurkha rights and was forced to perform a u-turn over expenses claimed by MPs.
The Daily Telegraph suggests that if Mr Brown was forced out of office, then the party would not be spared a devise and lengthy leadership contest. Some had suggested that a unity candidate could have emerged in a similar way to the single candidate appointment of Michael Howard as leader of the Conservative Party following a revolt against the then leader Iain Duncan Smith.
Ms Harman who as Equality Minister is responsible for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) rights told the BBC Today programme that she did not want to be Prime Minister.
“I am saying there are no circumstances…I do not want to be Prime Minister, I do not want to be leader of the party.
“I want Gordon Brown to remain PM after the next election as well as before the election.”
“There is not going to be a leadership election. There should not be, and there will not be,” she added.
Yesterday, Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, said that the government displayed a “lamentable failure” to connect with voters.
She also criticised the Prime Minister’s embarrassing broadcast on YouTube. “YouTube if you want to”, she said. “But it is no substitute for knocking on doors.”
The former Labour Leader, Neil Kinnock has warned that the disarray in the Labour Party could help the homophobic British National Party (BNP) in the upcoming European and local government elections.
“In order to maintain Labour advances like Surestart and investment in health and education we have all got to get behind Gordon,” he told the Guardian.
“We need to present a united front and not keep in-fighting which will hand victories to the BNP. Discussions of leadership challenges are ludicrous and damaging.”