Stephen Doughty, the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, is to back Angela Eagle’s bid to wrest the leadership of the Labour Party from incumbent leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Last night the Labour Party’s National Executive (NEC) – after a marathon 6-hour meeting – confirmed that the party’s rule-book does allow the incumbent leader’s name to be automatically included in the leadership ballot paper, thereby allowing Jeremy Corbyn to stand.
However the NEC has tightened up on membership rules which will prevent Labour members who joined after mid-January this year from voting.
Giving his reaction to the NEC decision, Stephen Doughty is quoted as having said “Personally, I don’t have a problem with it. For me, it’s important a process happens. It’s Labour party history that people have been able to challenge the leader and there was a contest with Kinnock and there’s a contest now, and that’s fair and right.”
Doughty is listed as being a vice-chair of Labour’s Blairite “Progress Group” which was set up as a private company limited by guarantee and has been prominent in the campaign to oust Jeremy Corbyn as party leader.
Progress originally described itself as a “New Labour pressure group” but subsequently dropped the “New Labour” appellation – and instead declared it represented the Labour party mainstream – a claim emphatically rejected by the Corbynite “Momentum Group”.
It was the Progress Group which was said to have co-ordinated and synchronised the series of resignations from Labour’s front bench in June this year in an unsuccessful attempt to de-stabilise Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader .
Doughty himself had already resigned from the Labour front bench in January – and did so live on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme tv in an abortive attempt to prompt an avalanche of resignations. On that occasion no one followed him.
Meanwhile a former rival of Doughty’s – Owen Smith (Labour Pontypridd) – has also declared his candidacy for the Labour Leadership.
When the Labour Party selected a candidate to fight the vacant Pontypridd seat in the 2010 General Election Doughty was on the shortlist but was rejected in favour of Smith.