David Cunliffe’s demotion looms
Monday 19 Nov 2012 1:34 p.m.
Labour MP David Cunliffe looks set to be stripped of his portfolios and sent to the backbenches tomorrow after his antics at the party’s annual conference at the weekend.
Mr Cunliffe refused to back leader David Shearer after leadership voting rules were changed, sparking rumours he would make a bid for the party’s top job.
However, this morning, Mr Cunliffe pledged his support for Mr Shearer, with critics speculating it was because he realised he didn’t have the numbers to support a bid of his own.
But Mr Cunliffe’s back down wasn’t enough to ease tension in the party and his future with Labour is being questioned.
Mr Shearer has called a meeting tomorrow afternoon where he will seek a vote of confidence from his MPs. Mr Cunliffe's role is expected to be discussed at the meeting.
Labour’s senior whip Chris Hipkins says Mr Cunliffe has undermined the party and it’s time for him to be reigned in.
“I think David Cunliffe has made it very, very difficult for the Labour Party caucus to work with him because clearly he’s been willing to undermine the current leader, just as he undermined the last leader.
“That’s not good enough and it’s time for that to come to an end,” he says.
Currently, Mr Cunliffe holds the key economic development portfolio but political commentators say that will stripped from him and he’ll be assigned a new seat on the back bench.
3 News Political Editor Duncan Garner says Mr Cunliffe will be scalded and demoted in tomorrow afternoon's caucus meeting planned for 4 o'clock.
“This has become a lot more grave and serious for Cunliffe. He will be immediately demoted to the backbenches for the very sloppy and messy handling of those questions at the weekend at their conference,” he says.
Mr Shearer made it clear this morning that he wants to clear the entire debacle up and put it behind him.
“The bottom line is that there have been some issues come up as part of the conference, that’s the way things often happen, they’ve been magnified and they need to be put to bed.
“That’s what I’m going to do in the coming days and they won’t resurrect themselves again,” says Mr Shearer.
Mr Cunliffe blames the media for issues facing him and his future with Labour.
“There’s been a lot of media trying to rark up splits and divisions. I’m confirming to you now that David Shearer has my vote in any early confidence vote,” he says.
The Labour Party has one week to quell the issues plaguing their caucus before Parliament resumes and they become the talking point in the debating chamber.