There have been claims that David Cunliffe didn’t launch a challenge to the Labour leadership over the last week and a half, and that he’s done nothing wrong. Chris Trotter was one to do this on Firstline this morning.
Many commenters at The Standard are claiming Cunliffe is innocent of any wrongdoing and is being unfairly attacked.
Brian Edwards has just blogged An Open Letter to David Shearer
Finally, you will use this fake unanimity as justification to severely punish David Cunliffe for challenging your leadership. But nowhere can I find any credible evidence of such a challenge. And nor, my reading suggests, can anyone else. There has been no challenge.
But there have also been claims that Cunliffe had been positioning himself for a leadership challenge leading up to the party conference.
Mike Smith wrote at The Standard yesterday in Keystone Coups:
I recommended it recently to David Cunliffe over lunch, and he told me soon after he had got all four out of the Parliamentary Library. But he obviously hasn’t read it yet. His supporters clumsy attempt to make the Party leadership the focus of last weekend’s Conference has backfired on him and on others involved.
My first indication that something was up was the rising temperature of comments on the Standard, culminating with posts written under pseudonym days before the conference calling for Shearer to stand down. I don’t know if the posters are Labour members or not, but it now looks like an attempt to destabilise Shearer days before his first conference speech.
As a Standard trustee Smith knows the indentities of the authors at The Standard. The other Standard trustee who knows the identities of their authors, Lynn Prentice, commented last week:
I sit on the editors board of The Standard trust which makes occasional decisions about strategy and direction of the site mostly via e-mail and phone. Mike Smith and I are the trustees tasked to carry out the operations. Which I do in conformance with the policy. Basically the policies haven’t really changed since late 2010 when a series of decisions we made about how to bring new authors in.
And on The Standard today:
So Smith must know the indentity of who he is accusing of attempts to destablise Shearer, and obviously sees a connection with David Cunliffe.
The one thing that this doesn’t prove is if Cunliffe himself had anything to do with it. It would be remarkable if his supporters would launch a leadership bid without him knowing anything about it.