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The 2010 Labour Party Leadership election was held on July 4th, 2010 to decide the party leader in the May 2011 English general election. Hard-left candidate Nick McDonald, Labour's leader since 2007, lost the election to the center-left candidate, Jack Davenport. Fellow hard-left candidate Julia Stabler placed third in the voting.
The Labour Party under John Lennon lost the 2005 General Election to Jeremy Irons and the conservative Whig Party. In the wake of the electoral defeat, center-left Lennon announced he would step down from party leadership and the Labour Leadership election was scheduled for July of 2005.
Center-left candidate Roman Dansley was the victor over hard-left candidates Nick McDonald and Ed Miliband by considerable margins, and assumed command of the party leadership immediately. However, after barely a year in power, the hard-left party element won a resounding victory in local elections, particularly in the Manchester-Liverpool area, due to continuing unpopularity of the Irons government.
Dansley, feeling pressure within his own party, stepped down in favor of McDonald, who ran unopposed in the March of 2007 leadership election in order to prepare for the next year's general election against Jeremy Irons and the Whigs.
While Irons won in 2008, he would resign only a few months later in October upon the realization of a scandal involving his sons and illegal protections afforded them following an alleged crime due to his office. Hugh Grant, the Deputy PM and Irons' right-hand man, immediately assumed control following a Parliamentary special election to select a successor from the majority, defeating the other candidate, Majority Whip Henry Crane. Grant ran unopposed in the December 15th, 2008 Whig leadership election and was regarded as a young and likable Prime Minister.
Following the May 2008 defeat, McDonald's experience and the strength of the hard-left element of Labour promised to bode well going into 2011 - however, a resounding Whig victory in the 2009 and 2010 local elections suggested that the improving English economy wanted different leadership. A leadership election was announced for early July by McDonald himself.
- Incumbent Labour Party leader Nick McDonald, representing the far-left liberals in the Labour Party, enjoyed the powers of incumbency and popularity amongst powerful unions.
- Julia Stabler led an insurgency amongst liberals in Labour, favoring more ambitious social welfare programs. Her candidacy was expected to hurt McDonald, especially in poor urban London and Birmingham suburbs.
- Jack Davenport emerged as the Lennonite center-left candidate, favoring a more compromising tone with the majority party Whigs than McDonald had offered in the previous years in power, running on a platform of "Let's get things done in Parliament."
Jack Davenport carried the election with 53% of the vote. McDonald received 38%, and Stabler received 9%. Political analysts believe that Stabler severley hurt McDonald's chances of maintaining party leadership and the victory by Davenport reverts Labour to the centrist party it was in the late 1990's and early 2000's, just prior to and during the Premiership of John Lennon.
Impact on 2011 General Election
The popular Whig party is expected to win its third consecutive general election, the third time in history it has achieved this (1978 and 1996 being the previous instances of this). Grant is a well-liked Prime Minister and holds a favorable margin in Parliament.
However, with Davenport's youth and upside, Labour party leaders, especially Davenport, have eyed the 2011 general election as a "building election" - a chance to win seats, cut down on Grant's majority and spend the next three years building a center-left platform that will encourage moderates in England to support Labour in 2014. The Whigs have lost in landslides after three terms in power in the past - 1981 was one of the most lopsided electoral victories in English history, and 1999 brought Lennon to power despite his inexperience.