Saturday News Review

The candidates

“To read the two Milibands and Mr Balls was like staring with furrowed brow at an apparently fuzzy picture, focusing and refocusing your eyes, trying to snap the image into sharpness until your head aches — and you realise that it isn’t your eyesight: the picture itself is just a blur.” – Matthew Paris, The Times

Tom Watson MP calls on the candidates to "meet some real people"

 “All the frontrunners for Labour’s leadership are insipid-looking, clean-shaven boys from the suburbs. I can only get away with saying this because the nation knows we also have a prime minister and deputy prime minister who don’t yet shave. David Cameron and Nick Clegg are mollycoddled middle-class white men whose idea of an early shift is the Today programme radio car interrupting their morning cappuccino.”  Tom Watson MP, The Guardian

“The battle for the Labour crown has yet to start in earnest — nominations close next week. Yet there are already widespread fears among MPs and members about its conduct: that a rarified debate about the party’s future is leaving far behind the voters needed to return it to power; that the candidates so far — white, male, 40-something, professional politicians — lack diversity and life experience; and that in trampling over each other to distance themselves from the unpopularity of the last government they risk ditching the good bits of new Labour as well as the bad and the ugly.” – The Times

“LABOUR must return to its left-wing roots if it is to return to power in Westminster, one of the party’s most senior Welsh figures argued yesterday. Counsel General John Griffiths said his party must make it clear it is on a “moral crusade” and wants to redistribute wealth if it is to return to power. The Newport East AM claimed it is a mistake for Labour to hide its socialist ambitions in order to appeal to “Middle England”.” – Western Mail

“Mr Miliband also said Labour had failed during the election campaign to effectively communicate all its achievements over 13 years, which included the minimum wage and huge improvements to public services. Despite serving as foreign secretary under Mr Brown, he says Labour was “too timid” on the role of government in the economy.” – The Coventry Telegraph

Movement for change

Foreign Secretary David Miliband prepares to leave home for his summer holiday on August  2, 2008 in London. Earlier in the week Mr Miliband gave an interview that was seen as a clear challenge to the leadership of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

David Miliband promises to double Labour membership

David Miliband will tomorrow present his blueprint for rebuilding the Labour party, announcing he is to channel a sizable portion of his campaign funds into retraining 1,000 Labour supporters as community organisers over the next three months. Attempting the first complete overhaul of a British political party with the techniques that helped Barack Obama into the White House, Miliband wants to turn the Labour party into a grassroots “movement for change”.” – The Guardian

“David Miliband will today set out plans to double Labour’s membership and give more powers to rank and file activists. The leadership frontrunner will say he wants to end the party’s previous era of “top down command and control”. If elected he will pledge to double the membership from 156,000 to 300,000 and hand members a greater say in the running of the party.” – The Mirror


“Pressure is mounting for a relaxation of Labour rules to allow a wider leadership contest than looks likely if the nomination thresholds are retained. Calls are expected to be made for an extension of the nominations deadline when members of the party’s ruling executive meet on Wednesday June 9, the day of the deadline itself.”- Tribune Blog

“Labour MPs have so far refused to heed calls from unions and left-wing pressure groups to help the outsiders gain enough backing. Many of the about 80 MPs yet to declare are from the new intake, making their nominations hard to predict.” – The Independent

“West Yorkshire’s Labour MPs are split over who to back for the party’s leadership contest. Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband has won the support of 47 MPs including two from Leeds – Hilary Benn (Leeds Central) and Rachel Reeves (Leeds West).” – The Yorkshire Evening Post

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