Friday News Review

Not so secret talks

Aides to the former Foreign Secretary are said to have attended a planning meeting with his brother’s supporters to discuss a possible role in the event that he loses. The overture is being seen as a signal that the elder Mr Miliband, long regarded as the front-runner in the race to succeed Gordon Brown, is bracing himself for defeat. But members of his camp told The Guardian that he was simply taking sensible precautions. In the event that he wins, the move could also be regarded as a timely olive branch to avert a damaging fraternal rift. – The Telegraph

Senior advisers to the two Miliband camps held a secret planning meeting at which they discussed what role each might play in the other’s shadow cabinet when one of them loses the knife-edge battle to becomeLabour leader. It is understood that Jim Murphy, one of David Miliband‘s two campaign managers, attended the meeting with members of the Ed Milband camp to map out how they would handle Saturday’s dramatic leadership result. David Miliband’s campaign said they regarded the discussions as just exploring sensible precautions. The Ed Miliband campaign took the willingness of his older brother’s camp to discuss the consequences of defeat as a sign they are bracing for Ed seizing the leadership in the final lap. – The Guardian

Is it Ed’s?

Until now I’ve been saying that I thought it was a 50-50 chance between the Miliband brothers and that that an EdM bet was the better value because his price was longer. Now I’m changing my view – I believe that Ed Miliband has a better chance of winning. There are two main reasons – firstly the progress his campaign seems to have made in the MP/MEP third of the electoral college. Here it only took a very few changes of mind or alteration of the positioning of the Milibands on the AV list for there to be a big impact. Last night SkyNews was reporting that a former minister was saying that the EdM deficit here was down to just 14 votes. Whether that was on first preferences or after the lower preferences had kicked in we do not know but there’s a sense that progress has been by the younger brother. – Political Betting

What now for Labour

Labour’s road back to Downing Street may be hard, with the ruling coalition of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats proposing a new law that will set a firm date for the next election in May 2015. Even running for Labour’s leadership has been an uphill struggle, in terms of public apathy. One Labour pollster, Deborah Mattinson, told a television interviewer earlier this month that her soundings had shown that the public had been focused on the government’s plans to slash public spending, and “know very little about what Labour is up to.” – The New York Times

There is much talk of brotherly love, but only David and his closest family can know how defeat would treat him. Bitter resentment is not easy to control; careers, from Edward Heath to Gordon Brown, have been consumed by it. From the beginning, this leadership campaign has been shaped by Ed’s decision to challenge his older brother. Even though they both insist they are mainstream social democrats driven by the need to narrow society’s inequalities, Ed insists that the decision – the most difficult of his life – is driven by his political differences with his brother, and not by ambition. – The Guardian

Will Ken be King?

Ken Livingstone will learn today whether he has won the chance to oust Boris Johnson as London Mayor. Labour is to announce its candidate for the 2012 election, with bookies’ favourite Mr Livingstone facing a challenge from former MP Oona King. A victory for Mr Livingstone would set up a re-run of the 2008 contest, in which Conservative Mr Johnson ended Mr Livingstone’s tenure in City Hall after eight years. Ms King, who lost her Bethnal Green and Bow seat in the 2005 general election, has won the support of former Labour leader Lord Kinnock and 14 London MPs. – The Evening Standard

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