With the merry dance of shadow cabinet elections upon us, it’s a good time to look back
on the last time Labour went through all this. There’s a useful list of all the results from the 1992 Parliament here, but here’s my
summary of some of the more eyecatching outcomes:
1) Gordon Brown, from hero to zero (to Chancellor). In 1992, Gordon Brown came top of the shadow Cabinet rankings. By 1996, he had dropped to 14th. And bear in mind that the number
of MPs standing fell from 53 to 26 over the same time. As we all know, though, he still made it to the Chancellorship.
2) Blair less popular than Prescott. Both Tony Blair and John Prescott stopped being involved in the shadow cabinet elections in 1994, as they had been elected party leader and
deputy leader, respectively. In the 1993 elections, Blair came in 6th, while Prescott finished 2nd. Brown, incidentally, was 4th.
3) Robin Cook and Margaret Beckett, Mr and Mrs Popular. The best performers of the period were probably Robin Cook and Margaret Beckett. In between 1992 and 1996, Cook finished:
3rd, 1st, 1st, 2nd and 5th. Between 1994 and 1996, Beckett finished: 2nd, 1st and 1st.
4) Darling nowhere to be seen. Sure, in 1992, Alistair Darling had only been an MP for 5 years – but it’s still striking that in his three shadow cabinet elections he could
only manage 36th, 32nd and 34th.
5) The unlikely lads. Remember Ron Davies and Gavin Strang? Both made it into Blair’s last shadow cabinet, and even into his first government (although, controversially, in demoted
positions). The shadow cabinet election results tell you why: Davies came 11th in 1996, Strang 4th. Your guess as to who will outperform themselves this time around.