Wednesday News Review

The contest

“This should be the challenge for the Labour leadership election: not an argument about which policies of the Labour government the contenders did or did not support, or even which policies they support now, but a real attempt to identify the basis for a contemporary centre-left political project. This requires some hard thinking, not a retreat into windy rhetoric or comforting certainties.” – The Guardian

 “Sylvester is right to argue that the leadership candidates are in danger of looking inwards rather than reaching out to the voters they must win back but that has nothing to do with the voting system Labour is using. In fact, the involvement of more than 3 million people who pay to be affiliated members of the Labour Party makes the contest more open than simply having 140,000 members balloted or allowing 250 MPs to decide.” The New Statesman

Candidates on tour

“THOMPSON Park replaced the House of Commons as Labour leadership hopeful Ed Miliband challenged Burnley Lib-Dem MP Gordon Birtwistle to vote against the coalition Government’s budget during an impromptu debate. Mr Miliband, who is standing against his brother – former Foreign Secretary David Miliband – in the race to be the new Labour leader, was visiting Burnley in a drive to win back seats from the Lib Dems” – The Burnley Express

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 was in Warrington as the candidates hit the regions

“LABOUR Party leadership hopefuls were in Oxford tonight vowing to reconnect with party supporters. However, all of them admitted the party had to face up to the mistakes of its past. The candidates said the leadership battle, which culminates in the autumn, was about taking the party forward and exposing and opposing the new Government.” – The Oxford Mail

“AMERICA and the banking bail out were high on the agenda for party activists who got the chance to grill Labour Party leader candidate David Miliband. In a passionate debate about the future of the political party on Friday morning the Labour MP fielded questions from some disillusioned campaigners on what direction the party would take if it voted for him.” – This is Cheshire

Policy posturing

“Ed Balls has launched a “save free school meals” campaign, stepping up his protest against cuts to an expansion in free meals. The shadow education secretary wants to reverse the cancellation of plans to extend free meals to a further 500,000 pupils. He said the school meals would improve “health, concentration and behaviour”.” – The BBC

“Commitments to increase spending on the NHS year-on-year are “dangerous” and will leave vulnerable patients without the support they need, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has claimed. Labour leadership hopeful Mr Burnham said real-terms increases to the NHS budget would result in 25% cuts to social care – with serious knock-on effects.” – The Press Association

The London marathon

The Labour London Mayoral candidate contest rumbles on

“I’ve been taken to task by a couple of people within London Labour for my contention in several recent posts that Ken Livingstone is a near certainty in this summer’s race for the party nomination to take on Boris in the next London mayoral election […] Oona King was an MP for a London East End seat until she was ousted by George Galloway in 2005. Her campaign is being run by Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, and a Livingstone foe. According to the Indy yesterday there is a real edge between the two campaigns.” – Political Betting

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