Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Barking and Dagenham, has cleared the threshold to stand in the election for Labour’s deputy leader, leading to renewed calls by some on the left to support his campaign.
But is Cruddas in any meaningful sense a left candidate?
He is not definitively more left-wing than, for instance, Peter Hain or even Hilary Benn.
Yes, he has made critical noises about New Labour’s record, and even talked about the need to restore class to the centre of the Labour Party’s agenda. But noises are really all they are. His only concrete distinction is his support for the Trade Union Freedom Bill.
And yet, by supporting Brown, Cruddas has backed a virulent opponent of free trade unions against John McDonnell, the bill's parliamentary sponsor — and helped deny Labour Party and trade union members a democratic contest. This is yet more evidence, if more was needed, that he is little more than a maverick Blairite.
This is a man who was: “moderately for ID cards”, “quite strongly for Labour's anti-terrorism laws”, “very strongly for foundation hospitals” and “very strongly for the Iraq war”.
And who has advocated reducing the unions’ share of the vote at Labour Party conference from 50% to 33%, thus giving the platform clear control.
The fact that the TGWU and Amicus — and now maybe Unison and the GMB too — are backing Cruddas, while refusing to support John McDonnell, is a disgrace.