Sunday News Review

Balls out?

There are Westminster rumours that Ed Balls may be considering dropping out of leadership contest

The Unite union’s national policy committee overwhelmingly opted for Ed Miliband in a significant boost for the former climate change secretary’s campaign. Mr Balls had hoped to win Unite’s backing – but only secured four votes compared to Ed Miliband’s 24. The decision left him contemplating withdrawing from the fray and backing either Ed Miliband or his brother David, the former foreign secretary, who remains the bookies’ favourite. Both Miliband brothers were attempting to persuade Mr Balls, who has won Labour plaudits for his recent attacks on the decision by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, to abandon plans to rebuild schools, to quit and support them. – The Telegraph

The main piece of hard information we have is that Balls will start well behind both Milibands in the Parliamentary third of the electoral college on the first round. Most, though not all, MPs first preferences are public. Left Foot Forward have estimated that Balls trails with 13.4% of this section behind David (38.9%) and Ed Miliband (27.9%). A winning Balls strategy would surely need to offet that deficit by topping the affiliated section, and doing so with a commanding double digit lead over at least one and preferably both Milibands there. – Next Left

More than 100 council leaders and Labour group leaders will today publish a letter backing Mr Miliband. A third of the votes in the Labour Party election will come from grassroots members. Last week bookies cut the odds on David’s closest rival – his brother Ed – after he received the support of most of Britain’s major trade unions. And yesterday Ed was backed by the Unite, in a severe blow to leadership contender Ed Balls, who had close ties with the union. But the turnout in the leadership ballot will be far lower among trade unionists than grassroots party members. – News of the World

Rival Ed Balls had hoped to win the support of Unite’s political committee but was defeated 24 votes to four. Mr Balls’s backers claimed Ed Miliband had promised Unite ‘pro-union legislation’. They also criticised a private email he had sent to the committee in which he pitched for the ‘Old Labour’ vote by declaring: ‘To return to power we must put the era of New Labour behind us.’ A spokeswoman for Mr Miliband denied he had pledged pro-union laws. – The Mail on Sunday

Unite backs Miliband Jnr

Ed Miliband will receive a further boost to his campaign for the Labour leadership tomorrow when Unite, the largest trade union in the UK, declares its support for him. The union’s national policy committee yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of the younger Miliband, giving him 24 nominations. It will now recommend that the national executive votes publicly to back the MP when it meets to discuss the issue tomorrow. Andy Burnham and Ed Balls received four votes each, while David Miliband and Diane Abbott won only one. – The Guardian

The political committee of Unite has voted to back Mr Miliband, which follows recent support for him from Unison and the GMB unions. The move means the country’s biggest three trade unions are backing the former climate change secretary in the election to succeed Gordon Brown. The decision is expected to be endorsed by Unite’s executive on Monday. It will then be recommended to the union’s one million members. – The BBC

The contest

My problem with the contest is that the only real choice is between four Oxford-educated men. (Diane Abbott is too divisive to be a serious contender.) Harriet Harman is doing a good job as acting leader. She’s the second woman to hold the post, following in the footsteps of Margaret Beckett in 1994, but Labour has yet to produce a woman candidate with sufficient status within the party to get the top job. It’s almost as if Labour regards women as mother substitutes, who are allowed to comfort the party in times of crisis but who step seamlessly into the background once the “real” leader emerges. – The Independent

Labour‘s justification for fratricidal strife was that it had suffered from not getting its old disputes in the open. Because Gordon Brown did not run against Tony Blair, he was able to inflict a decade of envious sulking on the party while he nursed the myth that he was somehow the rightful heir who had been robbed of his inheritance. Because no one stood against him, Gordon Brown was crowned rather than elected prime minister with disastrous consequences for party and country. All of which is true, but beside the point. It is a tribute to the stupefying dullness of this contest that Ed Miliband‘s argument that no one should be surprised to see brothers fight each other for the same job has kept the sceptics quiet for so long. – The Guardian

Coalition cracks

They should be holding their heads high, proud to be Liberals in power in the first coalition since the Second World War. But, as they return to their constituencies, many Liberal Democrat MPs are dreading their summer holidays. They’re weary of holding the line on the coalition, preferring the bubble of Westminster, where they convince themselves everything is going rather well. Private despondency and anger from both the Tory right and Liberal left are starting to spill into public. – The Independent

Nick Clegg slapped down maverick Tory David Davis yesterday for mocking his “Brokeback” partnership with David Cameron. The deputy PM condemned rightwinger Mr Davis as a “cynic” who was no threat to the Tory-Lib Dem coalition. Mr Davis sparked uproar after he was overheard saying Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft had scorned the two leaders’ relationship as the “Brokeback coalition” – a reference to the hit movie about two gay cowboys, Brokeback Mountain. Mr Clegg tried to shrug off the “colourful” comments but he admitted “people will try to condemn and mock and question and be sceptical” about the coalition. – The Sunday Mirror

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One Response to “Sunday News Review”

  1. […] odd going on here. Labour Uncut refers to a report in the Mail on Sunday that seems to have been replaced. Ed Balls had hoped to […]

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