2007 Labour Party leadership election (UK)

The 2007 Labour Party leadership election was formally triggered on 10 May 2007 by the resignation of Tony Blair, Labour Leader since the previous leadership contest on 21 July 1994. At the same time that Blair resigned, John Prescott resigned as Deputy Leader, triggering a concurrent election for the deputy leadership.[1][2]

2007 Labour Party leadership election
 1994 10 May – 24 June 2007 (2007-05-10 2007-06-24) 2010 
Candidate Gordon Brown
Popular vote Unopposed

Leader before election

Tony Blair

Elected Leader

Gordon Brown

Informal campaigning had been ongoing ever since Blair announced in 2004 that he would not be fighting a fourth general election as leader. Pressure for a timetable eventually led him to announce on 7 September 2006 that he would step down within a year.[3] Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) met on 13 May 2007 to decide a timetable.[4][5] Nominations opened on 14 May and closed at 12:30 UTC+1 on 17 May 2007.

Blair said he expected Gordon Brown to succeed him, and that Brown "would make an excellent Prime Minister". When nominations for the leadership elections opened, Blair was one of those nominating Brown.[6] From the start, most observers considered Brown the overwhelming favourite to succeed Blair; John McDonnell, his only challenger, failed to secure enough nominations in order to get onto the ballot, and conceded defeat.[7] Brown received 313 (88.2%) nominations to McDonnell's 29 (8.2%), making it mathematically impossible for anyone other than Brown to be nominated.

The election process concluded with Brown being declared leader at a special conference on 24 June 2007. On 27 June, Blair resigned as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and was succeeded by Brown.[8]

If Brown had been opposed, Labour Party members would for the first time have directly elected a new Prime Minister.


John McDonnell and Gordon Brown were the only candidates as the election process began with the nominations round. In order to secure a place on the ballot paper, candidates needed to submit their nominations to the National Executive Committee (NEC) by 17 May, each supported by at least 12.5% of Labour MPs (45 Labour MPs, including the candidate themselves). Brown, the only successfully nominated candidate, was declared leader at a special Labour conference on 24 June 2007.[9]

  • Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer,[10] long the favourite candidate to succeed Tony Blair, received 313 nominations and was successfully nominated.[11]
  • John McDonnell, chair of the Socialist Campaign Group, pledged to merge Old Labour and New Labour into what he calls Real Labour, and to "save the Labour government from itself". He was hoping to get the backing of all those who had been backing Michael Meacher, but did not do so;[12] with 29 nominations, he was 16 short of the minimum required number, and was not successfully nominated.[13][14][15]
  • Michael Meacher (withdrew on 14 May 2007), former Minister of State for the Environment, was a candidate but withdrew after failing to get enough nominations. On 27 April 2007, he and McDonnell announced that whichever of them had the support of fewer Labour MPs at the point of Tony Blair's resignation would withdraw from the campaign and support the other.[16] On 10 May, they delayed their announcement because "levels of support for each were too close to call".[17] Meacher gave his support to McDonnell on 14 May, but not all his supporters switched allegiance.[18]

Nominations and result

Gordon BrownKirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath31388.2%Yes
John McDonnellHayes and Harlington298.2%No

Only Gordon Brown attained over 45 nominations and was thus elected unopposed.

Suggested candidates who declined to run

During the months leading up to Tony Blair's resignation, media attention focused on a wide range of Labour politicians, most of whom publicly refused to stand:

See also


  1. "Prescott tells Labour: I'm sorry". BBC News. 2006-09-28.
  2. "Prescott quits as Deputy Leader". BBC News Online. 2007-05-10.
  3. "I will quit within a year — Blair". BBC News Online. 2006-09-07. Retrieved 2006-11-18.
  4. "Labour leader election timetable". BBC News. 2007-03-21.
  5. "Blair will stand down on 27 June". BBC News. 2007-05-10.
  6. "Labour leadership contest - Gordon Brown nominators". Labour Party. Archived from the original on 2007-05-17.
  7. "Harman wins deputy leader contest". BBC News Online. 24 June 2007.
  8. "Queen and Government". Website of the British Monarchy.
  9. "Labour leadership, close of nominations". Labour Party. 2007-05-17. Archived from the original on 2007-09-21.
  10. "Brown sets out leadership vision". BBC News. 2006-09-26.
  11. "Brown 'humbled' by Labour backing". BBC News. 2007-05-17.
  12. Mulholland, Hélène (2007-05-16). "Brown trying to prevent contest, claims McDonnell". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  13. "Labour MP launches leadership bid". BBC News. 2006-07-14.
  14. Oscar Reyes (2007-05-11). "Challenging Brown from the Left? Meacher and McDonnell interviewed". Red Pepper. Transnational Institute.
  15. "McDonnell short for leadership race". Reuters. 2007-05-15.
  16. "Left rivals unite to target Brown". BBC News. 2007-04-27.
  17. "Brown rivals delay bid decision". BBC News. 2007-05-10.
  18. "Brown 'faces McDonnell challenge'". BBC News. 2007-05-14.
  19. "City MP says he won't fight Brown". Norwich Evening News. 2007-01-15. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.
  20. David Cracknell; Isabel Oakeshott (2007-04-01). "Clarke ready to run for leader". Sunday Times. London.
  21. "Clarke rules out leadership with praise for Brown". 2007-05-03.
  22. "Clarke 'will not challenge Brown'". BBC News. 2007-05-04.
  23. "Will Blair and Brown get their way?". BBC News. 2006-09-06.
  24. "Reid gives Brown clear run to No 10". Scotland on Sunday. 2007-05-06. Retrieved 2019-05-19.
  25. "Johnson backing Brown for leader". BBC News. 2006-11-09.
  26. "Johnson fuels leadership speculation". BBC News. 2006-09-26.
  27. "Labour leadership contenders". BBC News. 2007-05-10.
  28. Deborah Summers and agencies (2007-05-11). "Blair backs Brown as chancellor launches campaign". The Guardian. London.
  29. "Labour slump may spark Miliband challenge". The Daily Telegraph. London. 2007-03-28. Retrieved 2010-05-07.[dead link]
  30. "Beckett warns Miliband not to run". BBC News. 2007-03-31.
  31. Tempest, Matthew (2007-04-11). "Miliband: I will not be seduced into leadership bid". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  32. "Miliband 'won't run for leader'". BBC News. 2007-04-17.
  33. "Reid's end-of-rally job pitch". BBC News. 2006-09-28.
  34. "Reid to quit as home secretary". BBC News. 2007-05-06.
  35. "Straw to run Brown leadership bid". BBC News. 2007-03-25.
  36. "Brown unveils huge Cabinet revamp". BBC News. 2007-06-28.