Okay, for those following the contest the current official state of play is:
Brown - 307 nominations
McDonnell - 29 nominations
However the latest reports put McDonnell 15 short of making the ballot paper with only 15 PLP members yet to declare - and one of those is thought to have declared for Brown since the last official update.
All of which means that Brown will become Labour leader (in waiting) at the close of nominations.
Johnson, Blears, Harman and Hain had made the ballot paper last night, and have now been joined, as expected, by Cruddas.
Benn is still currently shown as 3 short of the required 45 with 35 still to declare - one would think that 3 from 35 or so is not the biggest of asks, so it does appear as if a six-way contest may be on.
What’s most interesting is how the various contenders appear to be shaping up in terms of the kinds of constituencies they’ve been courting or drawing their support from.
Johnson has gone for the union vote, although its thought that he may face stiff competition from Cruddas when to comes to attracting support from Unite (Amicus/TGWU).
Harman has most openly courted the ‘women’s vote’ and drawn support from a number of prominent younger Brownites - quite to what extent this is a reflection of support for a gender-balanced ticket as opposed to a more cynical appreciation of Harman’s values as a non-threatening ‘placemat’ for ambition members of the next generation is unclear as yet.
If Hain has a constituency, then it seems to be Wales, thus far.
Cruddas has a solid raft of bloggers and has gone all out for the activists’ vote.
Blears has hoovered up the Blairites, and…
Benn… there’s a couple of decent polls that seem to show some strong grassroots support but little sense as yet that he has an obvious constituency amongst Labour Members.
Despite some tipping Blears as the dark horse of the race, it may well be that such predictions are premature as Benn’s lack of an obvious constituency could work in his favour under the AV voting system if supporters in the other camps see him as the safe second choice behind their favoured candidate.
Benn sneaking up on the rail to pip the field by a nose? Maybe…
I’m still backing Cruddas mind you, but my instincts are that it would be unwise to write off Benn just yet.