Eight years after being dramatically ousted by the SNP juggernaut in the 2015 general election, former cabinet minister Douglas Alexander is seeking a return to Westminster in a key target seat for Scottish Labour.
Alexander, who held a number of cabinet posts under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, has been nominated to stand for Scottish Labor in the swing seat of East Lothian. He will now face Alba’s deputy leader Kenny MacAskill, who won the seat for the SNP from a Labor position with a 3,886 majority in the 2019 general election.
East Lothian will be a top target for Scottish Labor in the run-up to the next Westminster election, and Alexander will fancy his chances. Recent polls predict that Labor will pick up a handful of MPs if Scotland’s current voting intentions remain unchanged. And the presence of strong Alba candidates and SNP defectors in East Lothian, who could split the pro-independence vote, means Alexander has chosen his seat well.
Announcing his election on Twitter on Sunday, Mr Alexander wrote: “He’s running! Humbled and grateful to have been overwhelmingly chosen today by local party members as Scottish Labour’s candidate for East Lothian.
Firearms licenses in crisis, BASC tells parliamentary committee to investigate
BASC’s scholarship program is open for 2023 applications
“Change is coming to our country and I am determined to play my part in winning East Lothian for Scottish Labour”.
Alexander’s candidacy comes more than 25 years after he was elected to the Commons, winning the then-safe Labor seat of Paisley South in a by-election in November 1997.
As a new MP, Alexander quickly gained the trust of Tony Blair, helping the leadership coordinate Labour’s successful election campaign as a junior minister in 2001. Alexander was rewarded with cabinet promotion, becoming Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 2003. From 2006–2007, Alexander simultaneously held the posts of Transport Secretary and Secretary of State for Scotland – potentially giving some insight into his political skills. And finally, when Gordon Brown took over as Labor leader in 2007, Alexander was made Secretary of State for International Development. He held the post until the 2010 general election, which brought David Cameron to Downing Street.
Alexander’s record in government could be a very valuable asset to Keir Starmer’s Labor Party if it wins the next general election. Indeed, of the nearly 30 MPs in the shadow cabinet, only two — Yvette Cooper and Ed Miliband — have become secretaries of state. There are only four others — David Lammy, John Healy, Pat McFadden and Sir Alan Campbell — who have held junior ministerial posts. In all, around 21 members of Sir Kiir’s top team, including Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, were only opposition MPs.
Alexander’s return has important political and ideological implications. As a key member of both the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown administrations, the former shadow foreign secretary is an archetypal New Labor favorite and center-left figure in the party.
This has led Alexander to face some criticism from the left wing of the party, says a source in the grassroots leftist group Momentum. the mirror: “This is New Labour-a full-blooded restoration of the ancien regime”.
However, Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner denied on Monday that Alexander’s return represented “the return of the Blairites”. she said Times Radio:
We see the return of Labor fully committed to putting the people of this country first and being the next government to clean up the disastrous economic mess the Conservatives have created. … It’s about the Labor Party being serious about being the government party
Rainers’ comments are perhaps the latest indication of how far the New Labor image has been rehabilitated in Starmer’s Labor Party. The legacies of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were under sustained attack under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn (2015-2020).
Sir Keir has already sought advice Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown as part of a very public consultation on constitutional reform; The Labor leader is also believed to be personally advised by new Labor spinners Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson. Apparently, Mandelson even chaired the so-called “secret” Brexit summit – presumably at the behest of Sir Keir. Also present was former New Labor Minister and Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy.
Alexander’s return is therefore a sign of the times in Labor Party politics. Focus is now on whether other former New Labor ministers will try their chances of returning to front-line politics. Among the names mentioned is former shadow chancellor Ed Balls and of course one David Miliband.