John Prescott has taken Harriet Harman to task on his blog about her rather bizarre comments that men "cannot be left to run things on their own" coupled with a call for the Labour party rules to be changed so that a woman always occupies one of the top two leadership positions.
Here are a few snippets:
I know you don't choose the headlines. But you did choose the words in the interview.You said: "I don't agree with all male leaderships. Men cannot be left to run things on their own. I think it's thoroughly bad to have a men-only leadership."Quotes like this just raise leadership issues once again just at a time when we should all be pullng together and defending our record.
Why take away from the party the right to choose its leaders on the basis of ability? You can't dictate equality in leadership elections. You must let the party decide.I was beaten fair and square in the 1992 deputy leadership election by Margaret Beckett.You yourself beat four men to become deputy leader in 2007.In theory you were elected on merit, not your gender. The system works and I think we should keep it that way.
"In theory"!? Ouch! SPLAT!
You had a great opportunity today to use the Sunday Times and the Andrew Marr show as platforms to campaign, sell back our successes and spell out Labour'sforward agenda.This is crucial, now more than ever, after a disasterous June election campaign you were supposed to be running and with a poll today saying we're 24% behind the Tories in the key marginals that you're supposed to be in charge of campaigning in.
I suspect that JP is just saying what many in the Labour party must be thinking.
Harman's latest comments are a distraction from the real issues and I suspect many of her senior colleagues will agree with Prescott's analysis, even if collective cabinet responsibility prevents them from directly criticising her.