Tuesday News Review

David’s future

David Miliband was given a hero’s welcome yesterday – as he kept the party sweating about his future. The defeated Labour leadership contender received a prolonged standing ovation as he addressed conference for perhaps the last time. David has still not told his younger brother Ed, who narrowly beat him to the top job, if he will serve in his team to fight the ConDems. One close ally said he was agonising about his future – less than 48 hours ahead of tomorrow evening’s deadline for standing in the shadow cabinet elections. The deciding factor could be the effect on his wife, who was in “floods of tears” yesterday at the way her husband had been treated by the party. – The Mirror

David Miliband pulled out of a series of fringe events at Labour’s conference on Monday night after a bruising 48 hours that fed speculation that he was poised to quit frontline politics rather than serve in his younger brother’s shadow cabinet. The guessing game over David Miliband’s future dominated a day in which he gave his party a glimpse of what could have been – with a concession speech that turned into a bravura display of political theatre. – The FT

Alistair Darling urged David Miliband to remain in frontline politics last night, saying he still had a “huge” contribution to make to the Labour Party. The outgoing shadow chancellor disclosed that he had met Mr Miliband over a drink since he was beaten to the Labour leadership by younger brother Ed at the weekend. Mr Darling declined to say who he was backing to take over as shadow chancellor, but lavished praise on David Miliband. “I hope David remains heavily engaged in the Labour Party in whatever way he thinks appropriate and whatever way Ed thinks appropriate,” he told a conference fringe event. “He’s still young and he has a huge amount to give.” – The Press & Journal

David Miliband was on the brink of walking away from front-line politics last night despite having stolen the thunder of his younger brother Ed. The vanquished Labour leadership candidate’s wife, Louise Shackelton, who wept inconsolably during his impassioned speech, is urging him to step down for the sake of his family. Senior party figures, including Alistair Darling and Yvette Cooper, publicly piled pressure on the older brother to stay on, either as shadow chancellor or continuing with his shadow foreign secretary brief. – The Mail

Ed’s next move

New Labour leader Ed Miliband will today draw a line under the past and pledge to lead the next generation into power. In the keynote speech to his party conference, he will call for a fresh approach to politics with different attitudes and ideas. He will also slam Gordon Brown for declaring boom and bust was over, reveal how his dad’s flight from the Nazis inspired him and lay into Labour’s handling of the recession. His speech comes after elder brother David – from who he dramatically snatched the leadership crown three days ago – brought the house down with a polished performance to party delegates yesterday. Painting himself as a British Barack Obama, fresh-faced Mr Miliband, just 40, will say: “A new generation is now leading Labour. – The Mirror
ED Miliband will attempt to turn the page on the New Labour era today with a bold denunciation of some of the party’s mistakes in government. In a bid to underline his campaign message that he is the candidate of change, Mr Miliband will say Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown too often fell victim to “old, established ways of thinking”. And in an attempt to distance himself from Mr Brown’s legacy, he will side with critics of the former Prime Minister, saying: “I understand your anger at a Labour government that claimed it could end boom and bust.” – The Western Mail
Man of the moment Ed Miliband has had no shortage of advice since he won the Labour leadership contest on Saturday. But if he’s really shrewd and wants to re-establish his party as the party of government, he would do well to follow the example of Labour’s most successful leader. No, not Tony Blair, but Harold Wilson. Taking over a dispirited party that had been out of office for 12 years, Wilson made Labour the ‘natural party of government’ (he won four elections out of the five he contested), without moving to the right, as Tony Blair did, and surrendering all Labour’s traditional principles. – The First Post


SERIOUS concerns have been raised about political engagement in Wales after it emerged that Labour has just 11,160 members across the country. The party’s precise number of members has emerged for the first time because voting figures in the leadership election that saw Ed Miliband narrowly win the leadership have been published by constituency. The Welsh constituency with the highest number of members is Cardiff West, the home seat of former First Minister Rhodri Morgan, with 454. Montgomeryshire has the smallest number of Labour members, with just 86. –The Western Mail

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