More evidence if you needed it of how much a mistake Ed Miliband’s backing for the pro-AV campaign is as 114 Labour MPs oppose it — that’s almost half of the 253-strong Parliamentary Labour Party.
The Guardian reports that those who swung behind the cross-party No to AV group include Tristram Hunt, MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, and Jim Fitzpatrick, the former transport minister as well as party heavyweights like David Blunkett, John Prescott, John Reid and Margaret Beckett.
Joan Ryan, the former Labour MP who is deputy chairman of No to AV,told the paper : “This issue is more important than party politics. The Labour party has said that MPs, councillors and activists are free to make up their own mind. We are pleased to see so many MPs from right across the party united in voting no and we are confident that many Labour supporters will be joining them.”
Ed Miliband is backing an issue that is opposed by almost half of the party inside and outside of parliament. With Tory opposition as well he is effectively aligning himself with Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats and a losing issue at a time when Labour should be focusing on rebuilding itself and opposing coaltion cuts. Many more inside the party are in favour of electoral reform, but the Alternative Vote is not a step forward it is a distraction.