Hendry and Stewart Back Allman

Sanctus – In a blow to both the Ringrose and Thomas campaigns, outgoing leader and Chancellor Charlene Hendry, and Homeland Security Secretary Kathryn Stewart today separately announced they would be voting for Nicola Allman in next weekend’s leadership election. Stewart’s endorsement was expected, given that she and Allman are close, but Hendry’s intervention comes as a surprise.

Breaking with tradition that the outgoing leader does not endorse a candidate to succeed them when there is a contest, Hendry today said that Allman has the “depth of character, understanding of service to the country, and a relationship with the working person” to be the next Leader of the Democratic Left Party. Declining to comment on why she isn’t supporting the other candidates, Hendry also said regarding Allman’s perceived lack of experience that “had I decided to do a reshuffle, or had we retained junior ministries, Nicola was at the top of the list. She’s capable, intelligent, and has more experience than people give her credit for. She has my support 100%”.

Most commentators are seeing this as a deliberate snub to both Ringrose, who was positioning himself as Hendry’s natural successor as a moderate, and also to Thomas who was Hendry’s cabinet colleague for the last five years. It’s possible that allegations around Thomas’ collegiality is a reason for Hendry’s lack of support.

For Homeland Security Secretary Stewart, the decision was much more straightforward, saying she had “worked closely both professionally and personally with Nicola for the last few years” and was “confident” of Allman’s ability to lead. Stewart, who was the favourite to succeed Hendry before decline to run in this contest, will be cognisant that her support might sway a considerable number of undecideds in Allman’s direction. It will also up the pressure on Ringrose, who still leads Allman in the polls, to attempt to do a deal with the backbench MP in order to shore up some votes; both Ringrose and Allman still trail poll favourite Thomas.

GWEN COPLEY, Political Correspondent

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