Monday News Review

Sticks and stones

“In an attack on a contest dominated by middleaged white men, Britain’s first black woman MP said it was time the leader represented the way the party looked in 2010. She said: “The front-runners could have run in the 1950s. The candidates should represent the Labour party as it is in 2010.” The attack follows Ms Abbott’s description of David Cameron and Nick Clegg as “two posh white boys”.” – The Mirror

“LABOUR in-fighting was yesterday said to be turning the leadership race into a bloody battle. Supporters of Ed Miliband have been accused of smearing his brother David as a “robotic android”. MPs acting for him are said to have rung activists telling them his older brother lacks the “human touch”. One MP said: “They are saying David is too geeky.”” – Daily Express

The contest

“I am struck by the blandness of the Labour leadership debate so far. Almost all Labour commentators, from new Labour architect Anthony Giddens to the main leadership candidates David Miliband, Ed Miliband, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham have produced an almost identical analysis: “the voters thought we had lost touch… 10p tax… crime…not taking people for granted” etc etc. The only distinctive thing about any of them so far has been Andy Burnham’s intriguing 1980s website.” – The Telegraph

“Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham said today that a failure to address concerns over immigration may have contributed to his party’s General Election defeat. The former health secretary, who earlier highlighted his “ordinary upbringing” as a way to win back disgruntled Labour supporters, claimed the party had been “in denial” about the issue.” – The Evening Standard

Diane Abbott has stormed into Labour’s leadership race because she thinks the other candidates come from too narrow a circle. It is not hard to see why. Even though one spouse (Yvette Cooper) will no longer be doing battle with another (Ed Balls), we still face the spectacle of two brothers, David and Ed Miliband, competing to take charge of the party and so, potentially, for the chance to be premier.” – The Guardian

“Andy Burnham, one of four former cabinet ministers vying to be the next Labour leader, has announced that he is “proud” to be seen as the candidate who would carry on where Gordon Brown and Tony Blair left off. He defended the most contentious decision of the Blair years, to send British troops to war in Iraq, unlike his rivals, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, who have distanced themselves from the war.” – The Independent

“NEIL Kinnock is backing Ed Miliband in his battle against his brother David to become the next Labour leader. Former party leader Lord Kinnock said Ed had the electoral “X factor” and “the capacity to inspire people”. But ex-Home Secretary David Blunkett is backing Andy Burnham in his bid for the top job. Former foreign secretary David Miliband is the bookies’ favourite of the six candidates who plan to stand.” – The Sun

King vs. Ken

“The former Labour MP Oona King will announce today her return to frontline politics by declaring that she will challenge Ken Livingstone to become Labour’s candidate for mayor of London in 2012. King will fight Livingstone to become Labour challenger to Boris Johnson. The contest – like the leadership contest – will be decided at the party conference in the autumn.” – The Guardian

Prescott for treasurer

“They say that old soldiers never die, they just fade away – but the former deputy prime minister John Prescott is not even prepared to do that. He will be 72 next birthday, in 10 days’ time, and is expected to be awarded a life peerage in Gordon Brown’s resignation honours list. And yesterday morning, “Prezza” formally launched his campaign to take one of the few jobs in politics that he has not already held: treasurer of the Labour Party.” – The Independent 

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