Saturday News Review

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The five candidates vying to suceed former prime minister Gordon Brown as the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party face their final hustings Sunday before voting gets under way. The five will face questions from an audience of hundreds of party members in Manchester, northwest England. – AFP

David’s campaign is now confident he will win but is determined not to appear complacent in public. Ed’s campaign, though, still believes he can win on the basis of second preference votes. Under party rules, after the votes have been counted, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated until one has a simple majority of more than 50 per cent of the votes cast. The other three candidates know they are some way behind in the race but all are determined not to give up. Ed Balls, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, rejected speculation that he was thinking of throwing in the towel. He said: “I’m fighting to the end and I’m fighting to win.” – Tribune

David and ED

The Miliband brothers are dominating the betting markets

He could be a “credible prime minister” and would take the fight to the Tories, he concluded to a standing ovation. Such comments confirm a marked difference between the brothers that has not gone unnoticed by Labour insiders. David Miliband is presenting himself as the “instant leader”, with the gravitas and statesmanlike demeanour to begin the job of fighting the coalition immediately. In contrast, his younger brother is pitching himself as the man who will listen to the party and the country before deciding how best to gird Labour for the fight ahead. That difference of approach may yet prove more of a dividing line between the brothers than their policies. – The FT

Labour values

To oppose all this is not to lurch left, or to take the soft option; it does not preclude difficult debates about how to make public institutions more open and responsive. Indeed, one of the main arguments against Westminster and Whitehall’s now standard model of “reform” is that it usually pushes things in the opposite direction. The main point is this: Labour has to open the page on an era when it laid the ground for the possible destruction of the few remaining bedrocks of what the leadership hopefuls call “Labour values” – with the obvious and frightening caveat that it may already be far, far too late. – The Guardian

Whoever wins the leadership election now – John McDonnell having failed to make the ballot – the result is going to be a disconnection between what the activists of the party want and what the PLP and the trades union bureaucracies settled for. That’s not the fault of demanding activists – as in America, it is the fault of the process underpinning Labour Party politics. – Though Cowards Flinch

Burnham on NI and NHS

Andy Burnham will hold an NHS rally in Manchester

Despite the Milibands being some distance ahead of their rivals, Mr Burnham, the Leigh MP and only candidate to base his campaign outside London, has come out fighting. The former health secretary will launch a national “defend our NHS” campaign in Manchester following the hustings, accusing the coalition Government of a “reckless gamble” with the health service.Mr Burnham said: “Don’t let anyone tell you this is a two-horse race. I’m in this for the long-haul and I’m in it to win.” – AP

Labour Party members in Northern Ireland should be able to decide for themselves if they stand as candidates for election next year, leadership hopeful Andy Burnham said. If elected as Gordon Brown’s successor in September, Mr Burnham indicated he would not prevent the regional association contesting the council or assembly polls. Labour has a long standing policy of not fighting elections in Northern Ireland due to its link with sister party the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). – The Belfast Telegraph
Gordon expects Ed M to win

 Rumours had suggested Mr Brown was privately backing Mr Balls, as he believed the shadow schools secretary was the man best suited to taking on David Cameron in the House of Commons. However, the Evening Standard claims that Mr Brown now thinks Mr Balls has lost his chance to win over the party. A source close to the ex-prime minster told the newspaper he expects Ed Miliband to win the leadership race. – Metro

David comes out in favour of gay marriage

Mr Miliband, the former foreign secretary, wrote: “It is an anomaly that gay couples – although they can call each other husband or wife – can’t say they are married. “Canada and Argentina have shown the way forward. That’s why I support calls to change the definition of marriage to include exclusive relationships between couples, regardless of sex. This will mean gay couples will be able to describe themselves as married.” He added that he supports the amendment to the Equality Act to give churches the option of holding civil partnerships and said the situation would be the same under a new definition of marriage. – Pink News

Local: Futher delays in Tower Hamlets

THE battle to select Labour’s candidate for the first-ever elected mayor in London’s East End has tonight been put back at least two weeks. The final choice was due to be voted on tomorrow (Saturday) at Tower Hamlets Labour Party HQ in Bethnal Green with rank-and-file members voting from a shortlist of five. But former council leader Lutfur Rahman, who was slammed in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme as having links with Islamic Forum for Europe, made a legal challenge earlier today to scrap the shortlist which left him off. – East London Advertiser

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One Response to “Saturday News Review”

  1. Kitty says:

    Is this report true and Ed Milliband is not supportive of gay marriage or is unclear what he thinks about gay marriage?

    “Would you allow gays to be legally married, rather than just be registered as a civil partnership?

    He hesitates. “I will listen to what people have to say on going further than that if there is a demand. No one has yet put that to me in the leadership election.” He said his feeling was that not enough people were asking for the policy.

    Ed answered that he had only been asked about marrige equality once before, but then went on to say “I’m very happy to support gay marriage” before adding that there would have to be a consultation. He got confused about civil partnerships, saying that “they were available to everyone” which he recognised was a mistake when I pointed out that they aren’t. Apparently “civil partnership was a massive step”, which I suppose it was, but nothing that couldn’t be reasonably expected, and still only a stepping stone to actual equality. I was then told he would talk about it after the formal section of the meeting, which he did. Ed said that he had spoken to LGBT groups during the election campaign and nobody had talked about marriage equality. I pointed out that there are a lot of people campaigning about this, but he seemed underwhelmed and asked me irritably “was it an election issue?”. I think he needed his lunch at this point. But the lack of a simple answer points me to believe that Ed simply doesn’t understand that a two tier system of civil partnerships and marriage isn’t just an issue for elections, but a fundamental issue of equality for the ‘ordinary’ people he had been talking about during the whole session.

    Shame really, as it has been reported on Liberal Conspiracy that Diane Abbott, Andy Burnham (in the Tablet no less!) and Ed Balls have all previously confirmed their support for gay marriage, and this morning Ed’s brother, David, published a piece on his website in support. I have no idea why Ed Miliband couldn’t have just said a simple ‘yes, I support gay marriage’, but he didn’t.


    It’s not a simple yes, but when asked on Twitter earlier about marriage equality, Ed Miliband tweeted this:

    Ed_Miliband @JaeKay Got asked abt this today &made clear I support principle of gay marriage. Need to consult on how to implement.”

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