Hughes Resigns As MP – Cabal Rising To Replace Goff
Report – By Selwyn Manning.
Labour leader Phil Goff has announced that he has accepted former Cabinet Minister and Labour's chief whip Darren Hughes' resignation. The announcement follows days of speculation over Hughes' political future after he confirmed he was the focus of a Police investigation into a complaint made by an 18 year-old male.
Phil Goff said Friday afternoon: “Events of the past few days have made it increasingly clear to Darren that the controversy around the allegations made against him has made it impossible to carry out his duties.
“In reaching that decision he is adamant that he has committed no offence. He needs to focus on clearing his name. I agree this is the right decision. It is important that the police are able to conclude their investigation without interference,” Phil Goff said.
Scoop can confirm Phil Goff's leadership has been in question since it was revealed he knew about the complaint made to Police two week's ago. The alleged incident is said to have occurred at Labour deputy leader Annette King's home, where Darren Hughes was a border.
Labour insiders have told Scoop that Hughes offered Goff his resignation weeks ago, after confiding in his leader that he was under Police investigation. The fact that Goff didn't accept it then has caused stress amongst Labour caucus members.
Scoop has also learnt that indeed a cabal representing a group within caucus is counting numbers against Goff.
Maryan Street and Ruth Dyson are representing a cabal that is seeking support for David Parker to replace Goff. And rumours that Helen Clark and her strong-arm strategist Heather Simpson have been consulted appear to have some substance.
Today, Scoop understands Parker has the numbers to roll Goff. He does have the support of the majority of the Labour caucus. But Scoop also understands the cabal will not make its move to roll the leader until Goff absorbs full responsibility for his handling of the Hughes affair.
Also, Labour's caucus will not be meeting this coming week, leaving little opportunity for a formal leadership vote to be put.
While Parker has Street and Dyson counting the numbers, Goff is left undefended. Hughes was his chief whip, he would normally go bidding for the leader. But with him out of the picture it is left to Stevie Chadwick who does not have the clout to stave off a leadership coup.
The earliest this situation can be put to bed is when caucus meets in over one week's time. That is unless a crisis meeting is called with all Labour Mps returning to Wellington to vote.
Scoop understands that when the Parker cabal finally decides to make its move, Annette King will also be rolled from her deputy leadership position.
Also, Parker realises that if he wishes to aspire to the Labour Party leadership, then it is now or never. Should he wait until next term, it is likely caucus would support Andrew Little, the current Labour Party president (presuming he wins a seat at this year's election).