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Brian Topp vows to step aside as NDP president if he seeks leadership

Brian Topp is promising to quickly step aside as NDP president if he decides to run to replace Jack Layton as party leader.

In an email to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Topp added that he will not be involved in the NDP process to set rules for the upcoming leadership contest.

In an open letter to Canadians published after his death, Mr. Layton urged the NDP to replace him early next year. So far, Mr. Topp is the most prominent NDP member to be openly mulling his candidacy.

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"In the event I were to become involved in the leadership race, it would then also be appropriate for me to take a leave from my duties as president. I well understand that this can't remain an open question for too very long," Mr. Topp said.

He explained he is "not going to play any role" in determining the rules of the leadership race.

"At a meeting of our party's officers last week, party secretary-treasurer Rebecca Blaikie agreed to take the lead in a review of the party's rules, regulations and precedents as they apply to this matter," Mr. Topp said. "In due course she'll be making appropriate recommendations to our executive committee and federal council."

In addition to Mr. Topp, the other name that comes up most frequently in leadership speculation is Thomas Mulcair, the NDP's House Leader and most prominent MP in Quebec. Mr. Mulcair is not talking to reporters Monday.

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