Monday News Review

Neck and neck

Asked about the poll, David Miliband, the shadow foreign secretary, said on the BBC’s Politics Show: “It’s good that there is a wake-up call for this election. Because too many people have thought that they can get a leader who can unite the party from Dennis Skinner to Alistair Darling, get a leader who the Tories fear, get a leader who sets out a forward agenda but not have to vote for him. The truth is, if you want that leader, which I will be, then the people who are watching this programme need to go into their kitchens, pick up their ballot papers and vote.” – The Guardian

Last night Ed Miliband said he was increasingly confident. “My sense is it’s moving towards me in every section.” But he added: “I don’t think you can ever say this is locked up due to the nature of our voting system.” Voting by postal ballot is now going on with the winner announced later this month. The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times showed bookies’ favourite David Miliband enjoying a narrow lead on first preferences. – The Mirror

LABOUR MPS’ second preference votes are expected to decide the party’s leadership race, following an opinion poll which indicated that Ed Miliband has greater support than his brother David among trades union and party members. More than three million people – including the party’s 270 MPs and MEPs, 160,000 party members and more than two million people affiliated to Labour through membership of trade unions – are entitled to vote in the race, which will be decided at the end of the month. – Irish Times

Union action planned

Union leaders will today endorse plans for the biggest show of industrial muscle for two decades including co-odinated industrial action, days of protest and national demonstrations against the Government’s austerity measures. Brendan Barber, the TUC general secretary, will evoke the spirit of the poll-tax protests at the opening of the TUC’s annual conference in Manchester today. The resistance is expected to begin next month, on the eve of Chancellor George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review, and come to a head in spring 2011 as the impact of the cuts begins to be felt. – The Independent

The government will face co-ordinated industrial action and civil disobedience once the true scale of its budget cuts becomes clear, union leaders warned today as they claimed 150,000 public sector job losses are already in the pipeline. Police forces, councils, courts and hospital trusts are laying off workers even before the bulk of the spending cuts are announced in October’s comprehensive spending review, research by the GMB union suggests. And in a sign that mainstream Labour‘s attitude towards the cuts is hardening, Harriet Harman, the deputy leader, said the party felt “militant” against extreme cuts. – The Guardian

Ed: We were wrong

Mr Miliband, the younger brother of fellow Labour leader hopeful David, also said the party needs to put civil liberties back at its heart. ‘I’m proud to be associated with the last government but you don’t lose elections because you did everything right – you lose elections because we made a mistake and you have to be honest about those mistakes,’ he said. ‘This party needs profound change if it is to win again next time. Civil liberties must be at the centre of what we stand for as a political party.’ – Metro

Blaming the tools

Mr Burnham intends to set out plans for a shake-up after a new leader is chosen at the party conference later in September. He believes the contest is skewed by the advantage given to those candidates who get the backing of the big unions – which guarantees them generous funding. Mr Burnham is also critical of the high number of nominations required for a candidate to stand – currently 12% of the Parliamentary party or 33 MPs – which he believes acts as a barrier against less-favoured candidates. He also believes MPs should not have their votes made public, arguing it encourages them to vote for who they think is going to win rather than who they actually want to back. – The BBC

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