David Shearer obviously still feels very hard done by and blames David Cunliffe for his difficulties as leader and his subsequent demise.
Is there room for both of them in the Labour caucus? Shearer says Cunliffe should resign.
After Shearer announced he wouldn’t contest the Labour leadership – I don’t think he was ever a serious contender considering his negative attitude to the job – he seemed to take every media opportunity he could get to lash out at Cunliffe and Labour.
I think this was ill-considered and destabilising at a time that Labour has to start to look like it can work together positively.
Shearer lobbed a hand grenade riddled with year old ill feeling into the leadership debate. He put personal bitterness before his party.
Most of Shearer’s lashing out has been directed at David Cunliffe – ironically at the same time that Cunliffe withdrew from the leadership contest. Old scores being unsettled.
Stuff reported David Shearer comes out swinging:
Earlier today, Shearer launched a bitter broadside at Cunliffe, his supporters, Labour’s brand and union influence in the leadership contest.
Shearer said that when he was leader, Cunliffe and his colleagues “undermined and white-anted me”.
Confusingly Shearer said he thought Cunliffe should have stayed in the leadership contest but now he has pulled out he should quit Parliament.
Talking to reporters before Labour’s caucus meeting – and after ruling out of another tilt at the top job – Shearer said it would have been better if Cunliffe had stood for leader, rather than pull out yesterday.
That would have presented a cleaner break and enabled everyone to get behind the new leader.
Now Cunliffe should quit Parliament, Shearer said.
Cunliffe’s response sounded far more reasonable.
But Cunliffe said he “rejected and refuted” the claims.
“It is simply untrue. There is no substance or truth in the allegation I white-anted him,” he said.
“I had no knowledge at all of the moves to replace him. … It was not done by my friends.”
Cunliffe said he wished Shearer well for his future and hoped all his colleagues would respect each other and put the best interests of the party first.
Right now Shearer is nowhere near respect and the party’s best interests.
Can Shearer and Cunliffe co-exist in the same caucus, with one and possibly both harbouring resentment at being ousted from leadership?
Cunliffe is currently the one making the right noises but can he be trusted? He hasn’t had much support from the Labour caucus and will have less now.
If Cunliffe remains in Parliament will Shearer quit?
This doesn’t bode well for Labour and will present major ongoing challenges for their soon to be chosen new leader.