Thurday News Review

And then there were five

Diane Abbott made it through nominations

“FIVE candidates will fight for the Labour leadership after backers of the favourite, David Miliband, lent their support to less-fancied rivals. Mr Miliband, his brother Ed and former Schools Secretary Ed Balls had already secured the 33 nominations needed before yesterday afternoon’s deadline. But the former Foreign Secretary allowed some of his team to nominate left-winger Diane Abbott and former Health Secretary Andy Burnham, in a bid to ensure a more diverse line-up of candidates.” – Wales Online

“Former ministers Jack Straw, Denis MacShane and Phil Woolas were among the other surprise names to deliver Abbott the 33 MP nominations she needed. Miliband and the others made their move after another leftwinger, John McDonnell, withdrew from the race.” – The Guardian

“The Labour Party now has its final five leadership candidates – and it’s a broader field than initially expected. The left, women and BME voters will now be represented in the race – but most of the diversity is thanks to one candidate only – and she still went to Cambridge.” – Labour List

“The left-wing MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington joins David and Ed Miliband, former children’s secretary Ed Balls, and former health secretary Andy Burnham on the list […]But Ms Abbott’s presence on the ballot paper was only thanks to a late flurry of support after fellow left-winger John McDonnell quit the race and called on his backers to get behind her.” – The Scotsman

“However, Labour chiefs were delighted to see her on the ballot paper, adding a gender and ethnic diversity that threatened to be missing from the contest, to be decided in September. David Miliband even added his name to the list of sponsors of Ms Abbott to make sure she managed to gather the 33 nominations necessary to win a place on the final ballot paper, although she denied her entry into the contest was “artificial”.” – The FT

“They will undertake a gruelling round of hustings over the summer. Ms Abbott was a surprise addition after a late flurry of support from David Miliband’s allies helped her to secure enough nominations from MPs to go into the contest.” – The Independent

New Statesman hustings

The candiates

“I went to the first post-nomination hustings, staged by the New Statesman magazine at Church House, close to the Commons, and Diane played to the left-wing audience superbly and roughed up her opponents from the Labour establishment with skill and flair.” – Jon Craig, Sky

“Tensions rose after Ed Miliband said that at the time of the invasion in 2003, when he wass not an MP, he felt that Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, should have been given “more time”. His elder brother appeared to raise his eyebrows at this point, as he did when Ed Miliband implied there has been a lack of “values” in foreign policy under Labour.” –New Statesman


“They need to articulate a progressive response to the inevitable era of fiscal austerity that Britain is entering. Simply promising to fight the cuts is not a credible platform. We need to know what government functions the candidates would drop, as well as defend. We need to know what taxes they would raise, rather than those they would just leave alone. And this all needs to be tied together by a clear philosophy of the state’s role.” – The Independent

“In the leadership race there is a large hole where there should be a debate about the future of the British economy. There have been a few limited forays onto the field: Red Ed Miliband wants to keep the 50p tax band forever, for example. But where do the contenders think growth is going to come from? What should Labour’s position be on deficits, debt and fiscal responsibility? Is it a good idea for the government to spend so much more than it raises in taxation?” – The Wall Street Journal Blog

“Obviously, the Labour party must change and make a clean break with the era of Blair and Brown. I have my doubts if any of these candidates, other than incredible Diane Abbott, can escape the politics that moulded them. None have said anything substantively new. They are not wedded to the past; they pine for it.” – The Spectator

“A key factor will be how the movement feels about itself and what it is looking for during the second week in September, when the ballot papers go out. It is still less than a month since Gordon Brown left Downing Street, and Labour has yet to absorb fully the fact that it is now in opposition. All sections of the electoral college will be looking for a contender best able to fight the Tories and the coalition.” – Mike Smithson, The Guardian and continued at Political Betting

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