Wednesday News Review

The contest

“Left-wing firebrand Diane Abbott has topped the first major opinion poll since she entered the Labour leadership race – despite not having the declared support of any MPs. The strongest backing for the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP in the poll came from Tory and Lib Dem voters.” – The Daily Mail

“Ed Miliband yesterday secured a psychological edge over his rivals for the Labour leadership by clearing the first hurdle in the race to succeed Gordon Brown. On the day the contest officially began, the Shadow Energy Secretary secured nominations from 35 MPs – two more than the minimum required – after what appeared to be a concerted “get out the vote operation” by his campaign.” – The Times

“But as like at a party conference, there are other whispers going on at the fringes. Anyone who has spoken to a number of Labour MPs this week would agree that it feels like the top opposition job will go to one of the Miliband brothers. They feel that Andy Burnham, who could be seen locked in an intense chat with Tessa Jowell in the sun outside parliament just now, lacks the momentum to gain plenty of support. They tend to agree that Ed Balls is the wrong man for the pluralistic age, in which Lib Dem as well as Middle England voters will need to be won.” – The New Statesman

“Britain’s Shadow Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has taken a psychological edge over his rivals for the Labour leadership by securing nominations from 35 MPs, two more than the minimum required. Former Cabinet ministers John Denham and Frank Dobson were among the big names declaring support for Ed Miliband to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour Party’s leader.” – The Indian Express

Andy Burnham official launch

“Former Health Secretary Andy Burnham will officially launch his Labour leadership campaign later in his constituency of Leigh.” – ITN


The long slog

 “The first thing defeated parties have to do is to accept that they’ve actually lost. Then they must ask themselves, and voters, why? Only after that can they address the difficult bit: how to reconnect with the electorate by focusing on issues which the new government is getting wrong or ignoring altogether. “Concentrate on the chamber, make life difficult for ministers,” Jack Straw advised new MPs yesterday.” – The Guardian

“Is this coalition government going to get away without an opposition? Labour is otherwise engaged between now and September, and although Harriet Harman, the interim leader, will do her level best, this is a caretaker opposition. Some, such as Liam Byrne and Sadiq Khan, will be energetic. But many other leading figures – Alan Johnson, Jack Straw and Alistair Darling – have all said they wish to stand aside from the frontbench, and will struggle to grind through the gears.” – The Guardian

“Harriet Harman, the stand-in leader for Labour, has made it clear her party, though going through a leadership election, will be an “effective” opposition in the coming months. Harman said that while Labour will not oppose for the sake of it — “that is not what the public wants” — she added that “we will not pull our punches” and said the opposition is determined to “prevent unfairness”.” – The New Statesman


“There’s an honourable tradition in the Labour Party of bravely standing against an unjust war – as long as the war ended several years ago. So, one by one, Labour’s leadership candidates are announcing their opposition to the invasion of Iraq, just in time for it all to end. Labour leaders did a similar thing after the Vietnam War, and the First World War, and at the moment they all support keeping the army in Afghanistan, but I bet they haven’t a good word for the Second Crusades, which is the main thing.” – The Independent

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