Posts Tagged ‘leadership contest’

Tuesday News Review

08/06/2010, 08:27:13 AM

The debate begins

“During the first major hustings event for the candidates vying to succeed Gordon Brown, Mr Burnham went further

The hopefulls debate at the GMB

 than before in distancing himself from the “top-down” approach of Tony Blair and Mr Brown. In a symbolic break with the New Labour years, both Mr Burnham and Ed Miliband suggested they would not have Lord Mandelson in their shadow cabinets.” – The Independent

“The Miliband brothers took different approaches in a grilling by union members at the first hustings of the Labour  leadership contest. David risked anger by rejecting calls for a repeal of industrial action laws. “If we return to being a party that says secondary picketing is back and balloting is out, you can kiss goodbye to another Labour government,” he said. But younger brother Ed promised the GMB-hosted debate in Southport, Merseyside, that if elected leader he will work more closely with unions.” – The Mirror

“The potential left contribution is not just about sharpening the style of Labour’s centre-right, but also enriching the party’s substance. There are issues where – as Dr Seuss could have written – the left is right, and the right wrong.” – The Guardian

“The meeting came after five of the hopefuls made their case to the GMB union at a hustings which saw Mr McDonnell win loud applause by attacking Margaret Thatcher’s cuts in the 1980s. However, some observers thought he blotted his copybook by quipping that he would like to travel back in time to “assassinate” the former Tory premier. He later insisted that this was a joke.” – Press Association

The Candidates

“There’s been a lot of attention on Ed Balls over the past couple of days as nominations for the Labour leadership are about to close and the race proper will begin. The big news from the former was his readiness to criticise Brown, his former mentor, while he had an assured performance in the latter” – Political Betting

“There’s been a lot said about Ed Balls’ Observer piece on immigration. But the most striking thing about it to my mind is that it shows that Balls has made the transition to an opposition mindset.” – The Spectator

“Supporters of Diane Abbott are urging fellow backbencher MP John McDonnell to stand down from the Labour leadership race to give the left a greater chance of having a candidate on the final ballot.” – The Guardian

“If Labour’s hopefuls are ever to make amends, it won’t be by playing to imagined prejudice and falling back on the surly, inward-looking populism of the immigration debate. The bitter truth about the last election is that voting for the people’s party became the luxury of the affluent. Now, with an age of unrest dawning, Labour will never win back the trust of the fearful by whipping up the politics of fear.” – The Telegraph

Cameron fast and loose with the facts

Cameron "disingenuous at best"

“Cameron is quite right to reduce the figures to a scale and proportion which means something to the ordinary taxpayer; but he’s treating us like fools to pretend that this figure of £70bn is some sort of deep, dark secret which the last government was trying to hide.” – The Independent

“Now that the new UK government is bedding in and getting ready to unleash austerity upon us, I thought I’d quickly look back at the last Labour government and tell you something that you won’t want to hear: the last Chancellor Alistair Darling did a very good job.Investment Week

“To somehow claim that he’s opened the books and found things worse than he thought, that’s nonsense. This is a classic case of the new Government blaming the last government in order to pave the way for things the Tories had always wanted to do, this time getting the Liberals to front it up for them.” Alistair Darling, World at One

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Sunday News Review

06/06/2010, 08:04:50 AM

The candidates

“The insipid campaign has laid bare the paucity of talent on Labour’s benches, and the party’s ideological exhaustion. No serving Cabinet minister lost their seat at the election; Tony Blair aside, the Milibands and Ed Balls are the best Labour has. That’s a grim prospect if your colour’s red. Ed Balls has the panache of a Vauxhall Safira; and the two Milibands are trapped in a Beckettian whirl of meaningless jargon, convinced that using abstract nouns is a mark of vital intelligence.” – The Spectator

“”They have all grown. I got on very well with Ed during the campaign. But in the end you’ve got to make a judgment. Of all of them, I think David [Miliband] has got the most rounded political and policy skills that you need. I’m a pragmatist about this. I think about who can take on Cameron best.”” – Alistair Campbell, Independent on Sunday

“One rival, Ed Balls, Gordon Brown’s anointed heir, offers a clear contrast as a centraliser in the Fabian tradition, backed by Unite, the giant union. He has one great achievement to his name for which we can all be grateful: he convinced his master that Britain should stay out of the euro.” – The Times

“Labour leadership hopeful Ed Balls says he is the man to take Labour back to Number 10. As the campaign to find Gordon Brown’s successor gains momentum, the former schools secretary said he is the only candidate to hold on to the “New Labour understanding”. – Staffordshire Newsletter

Movement for Miliband

David Miliband says he will reform the Party

“Mr Miliband said: “We are at a very, very important moment. Instead of the leadership being ashamed of the membership the membership feels let down by the leadership, and it’s really important that those of us in a leadership position understand that. A fundamental part of correcting that is to reconnect the leadership with the membership.”” – The News of the World

“They include allowing Labour members to elect the party chairman; launching a “find-a-friend” campaign to double Labour’s membership; training Labour Party members to become community organisers; and maintaining, in opposition, the requirement for the Labour leader to have weekly meetings with a committee of backbench MPs.” – Press Association

Policy pronouncements

“As Labour seeks to rebuild trust with the British people, it is important we are honest about what we got wrong. In retrospect, Britain should not have rejected transitional controls on migration from the first wave of new EU member states in 2004, which we were legally entitled to impose. As the GMB’s Paul Kenny and others have pointed out, the failure of our government to get agreement to implement the agency workers directive made matters worse.” – Ed Balls, The Observer

“In a BBC Politics Show interview later, Mr Balls is also expected to urge more debate about policy in the contest. Mr Balls’ comments could be a sign that dividing lines between candidates was opening up, says the BBC’s Iain Watson. David Miliband, another leadership hopeful, will also be speaking to the BBC to outline his proposed party reforms.” – The BBC

Burnham sprint finish

Andy Burnham hopes to make the cut

“Burnham’s campaign managers said yesterday they believed he would secure enough support to run. In his pitch to MPs tomorrow he will criticise new Labour’s courting of big business, saying it sent out the wrong message to the party’s core supporters. “We were in the thrall of big business. We lost sight of the impact that had on individuals and their circumstances,” he plans to say.” – The Times

 “Andy Burnham is set to win enough support to battle for the Labour leadership. Party sources say the ex-Health Secretary will get the required backing of 33 Labour MPs before Wednesday’s deadline to be the fourth and final contender for the top job.” – The Sunday Mirror

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Saturday News Review

05/06/2010, 08:09:59 AM

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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Monday News Review

31/05/2010, 07:45:59 AM

The candidates

Diane Abbott makes pitch to Sun readers

“”They all look, sound and think the same. I want to ask the difficult questions. The sort of questions Sun readers want asked.” But she faces a battle to win enough nominations to get her name on the leadership ballot.” – Diane Abbott, The Sun

“All that the contenders have to offer are their political skills, they are all creatures of New Labour. That makes them likable, good communicators and very clever; but the drawbacks are equally evident. They are all youngish men who have grown up inside the distortions of the adrenaline-fuelled life of government.” – The Guardian

“Ed Miliband said that he and David never fought during childhood because “we are both too weedy for that”. He said that he chose to stand for election so party members had a diverse choice. “The one thing about opposition is that it gives you the chance to renew,” he said. “It was an incredibly hard decision for me to decide to run against my brother. It’s unusual, to put it mildly.”” – The Telegraph  

Scotland & Wales make play for NEC seat

Iain Gray calls for NEC seats for Scotland & Wales

“Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray has said he wants greater influence in the UK party, after calling for a place on its ruling body. Mr Gray told BBC Scotland the time had come to give Labour’s Holyrood leader a seat on the national executive committee to “bind” the party together.” – The BBC

“LABOUR’S Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed by gaining a seat on its National Executive Committee, according to Iain Gray. The Scottish Labour leader said he had urged the party leadership challengers to allow him and Welsh leader Carwyn Jones to join the body that formulates policy” – The Scotsman

“Labour’s Scottish and Welsh leaders should have a say on how the party is governed, Iain Gray said. The Scottish Labour leader revealed that he has urged the leadership contenders to give him a seat on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).” – Press Association

Uniting the Union

“Mr Simpson and Mr Woodley are due to retire, and will be replaced by one general secretary, who will have a major influence on the Labour Party, of which Unite is the biggest financial backer. The odds are not in Ms Cartmail’s favour, because within each of the two unions that made up Unite there was an efficient vote-garnering machine.” – The Independent

“A moment of truth is approaching for Thigmoo – “this great movement of ours”, aka the UK’s once mighty trade unions, now facing their biggest test for 30 years as the Con-Lib coalition prepares public spending cuts that could threaten at least 500,000 jobs.” – The FT

Brown down

 “Gordon Brown has “good days and bad days” but is coming to terms with losing power, ex-Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell said yesterday. Mr Campbell told the BBC the former Prime Minister was “reconciled to the fact that he didn’t win the election”.” – The Mirror

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Sunday News Review

30/05/2010, 08:59:44 AM

Next Labour

Ben Bradshaw backs David Miliband

“David’s breadth of leadership skills and experience, combined with his clear vision of where he wants to take the party and Britain also, offers our best chance of winning again in Norwich, Swindon and Milton Keynes, without which there won’t be another Labour government.” – Ben Bradshaw MP, The Observer

“The issue has been forced because of the doomed coalition talks in the last days of the Labour government which revealed a deep chasm between the “progressive” and the traditional wings of the party. That division wasn’t just about whether to do a deal with the Lib Dems, it was about a divergent approach to politics.” – The Scotsman

“It is more eyebrow-raising that the denigration of New Labour has also been joined by the Miliband brothers, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, a quartet who served their political apprenticeships in the courts of Blair and Brown and then ascended to the cabinet. They are jostling to criticise the government of which they were very recently prominent members.” – The Observer

“Perhaps the Labour front bench believes that having been mercifully released from the death grip of G Brown, it is now under no obligation to accept responsibility for his errors: that expunging the chief perpetrator was itself an absolution.” – The Sunday Telegraph

Talent show

David Miliband threw caution to the wind last night by calling for a full television debate between all candidates for the Labour leadership, in a move that could help boost his rivals.” – The Observer

“Labour leadership contender David Miliband is challenging his rivals to a TV debate. The former Foreign Secretary made the suggestion in a letter this weekend to the five other candidates.” – The Sunday Mirror

Old, New Labour

Campbell tells of power struggle at heart of New Labour

“The full extent of the explosive feuds at the heart of New Labour are revealed today in a new book by Alastair Campbell.Tony Blair’s former spin doctor discloses furious shouting matches between the ex-PM and Gordon Brown that left both men “with purple faces”.” – The Sunday Mirror

“Whilst many of us want to concentrate on the future and the rescue of our economy, the next few months will also see some reappraisal of the Labour years. For the first time we will be able to debate them without the choking blanket of spin coming from Downing Street.” – John Redwoods Diary

Baby boom

“Both the Prime Minister and Opposition leader could be on nappy-changing duty within months if Ed Miliband wins the race to succeed Gordon Brown” – The Mail on Sunday

“The family theme to Labour’s leadership contest took a fresh twist last night as it emerged that Ed Miliband is to become a father for the second time later this year.” – The Independent

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The Ed Balls interview

27/05/2010, 12:07:36 PM

Labour Uncut interviewed Ed Balls on Tuesday evening.  We couldn’t ask all the questions you submitted.  There were far too many.  We gave Ed the option of whether or not to answer questions – in this Labour leadership interview – from people who clearly weren’t Labour members or supporters.  He chose to answer, and we’ve included several.

Ed’s is the first of our leadership candidate interviews.  We were impressed by his focus and presence.  It will be great if the rest are as good.

Q. (From Alex R) When the leadership candidates say that they were guilty of ‘not listening’ enough in the last government, how and why were you not listening? What steps would you take to listen sufficiently if you had another opportunity?

A. I think our problems about not listening started much earlier than the last Parliament. I think one of the great frustrations that we had in the election campaign, and in my case the year before, was that many of the things people were upset about, like public housing, the impact of unskilled immigration on terms and conditions, the obstacle of upfront tuition fees for young people going to university – these were issues we’d actually addressed.  We’d put in place controls on immigration; John Healy was leading a big expansion on public housing; we’d got rid of upfront tuition fees.  But the public weren’t hearing at that time what we were saying and it takes time for policy decisions to feed through to the reality of peoples lives.

I think the truth is that the time when we weren’t listening enough was probably during the second term in Government.  My election campaign for the last 18 months has been all about repeated public meetings, listening to people and their issues – and lots of other MPs who were successful in their campaigns did the same thing in this last couple of years.  If we’d been doing that five years earlier we’d have made different and better policy decisions at an earlier stage.

So your politics can’t be about telling communities what you’ve concluded; it’s got to be about asking them, listening to the voices of people who need us on their side and responding.  That’s what I mean by listening. (more…)

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Campaign update – and why we need a serious woman

20/05/2010, 12:14:25 PM

In the PLP section of the leadership contest, David Miliband is powering ahead. Labour Uncut is listing 30 declared PLP nominators so far. But even a rival campaign manager told us that “he’s way over that; they’re weighing them in”. His Parliamentary campaign team is led by Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander. Murphy, who sealed his reputation with his handling, as Europe Minister, of the Lisbon Treaty ratification, is a real politician’s politician. Likeable but ruthless, serious but funny, he is abstemious but has a slightly edgy air.

With David Miliband permanently on the terrace and in the tea room schmoozing people – neither his natural environment nor his métier – his campaign will profit from Murphy’s people skills as well as his machine ability.

Ed Miliband, currently showing 15 declared endorsers, is also thought to have comfortably surpassed the 33 MPs needed to get on the ballot paper. Former Cabinet Ministers Sadiq Khan and Peter Hain are the most active on his behalf in the tea room. Strangely similar characters from quite different backgrounds and generations, both are natural organisers. Ed Miliband’s coalition, though, still looks the most inchoate. It makes the least sense. Perhaps a group that includes Stephen Pound, Helen Goodman, Emily Thornberry and David Hamilton will turn into a big tent party. Let us hope it does not prove a messy mishmash. (more…)

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Thursday News Review

20/05/2010, 08:03:55 AM

Andy Burnham joins the race

“As Labour debates its future, we must avoid looking like we are disowning our past. Everyone owes a debt of thanks to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But it falls now to my generation to rebuild Labour for new times. Politics has changed. Our job is to reconnect Labour with people who want something different from it. We also must bring back those people who have lost faith with us. I believe I can reach them. That is why I am today asking for the support of my colleagues to go forward as a candidate to lead the party I love and have served for 25 years.” – Andy Burnham, The Mirror

“Andy Burnham will become the fifth Labour MP vying for the leadership of the party when he declares his candidacy today. Writing in the Daily Mirror, the former health secretary will claim to be the candidate who can reconnect Labour with aspirational blue-collar workers. He will formally launch his campaign in his Leigh constituency in the north-west.” – The FT

Andy Burnham will join the race to replace Gordon Brown, saying Labour “had our fingers in our ears and our hands over our eyes” over election issues including immigration. The former health secretary will announce his candidacy at the People’s History Museum in Manchester this afternoon, bringing the number of candidates to five.” – The Guardian

“He will say the ex-PM’s decision to axe the 10p tax rate – which hit the low-paid hardest – sent out the signal that Labour “didn’t care” about ordinary people. Mr Burnham, 40, will also call for a clean break with the Blair/Brown era by claiming the party has lost touch with its core voters.” – The Sun

Diane Abbott enters the fray

“Backbench MP Diane Abbott has joined the race for the Labour leadership. The Londoner told the BBC her bid was “serious”, saying there was little between the other candidates and she would be offering Labour a choice. The 57-year-old Cambridge graduate, who became the UK’s first black woman MP in 1987, said she was getting support from both MPs on the left and women MPs.” – The BBC

“Left-wing Labour MP Diane Abbott announced today she was running for the party leadership, becoming the first woman to enter the race. In a surprise move, Ms Abbott said she was confident of attracting the 33 nominations needed to get her on to the ballot paper.” – The Independent

“Diane Abbott has thrown her hat into the ring, announcing that she will stand for Labour leadership. The MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington told the BBC‘s Today programme that her bid was “serious”, and would offer Labour a choice, given the similarities between the other candidates. This unexpected addition certainly brings something different to a race which, until now, was populated entirely by white, Oxbridge educated men in their 40s — Ed and David Miliband, Ed Balls, John McDonnell, and Andy Burnham.” – The New Statesman

“Diane Abbott’s announcement that she will stand for Leader of the Labour Party has set off a fire cracker at the heart of a hitherto staid affair. Because of her TV pundit status, and her controversial career, the media will go nuts over her. Only John McDonnell has reason for dismay: she will take Campaign Group MPs’ nominations from him, and probably ensure that neither of them will get onto the ballot paper.” – LabourList

“Ever since it became clear that a Labour leadership race was in the offing, people have been urging me to run. The declared frontrunners are hugely talented, but the danger is that they are “hoovering up” all the nominations and sucking the air out of the contest. This is pivotal moment for the party, and there is a long summer of hustings ahead. And many people believe that we need the broadest range of candidates in the race. Otherwise, many issues that Labour party members (and the public) want to debate will be off the table.” – Diane Abbott, The Guardian

The contest

“Last night, the party was considering demands for candidates to be given more time to raise the support of 33 MPs, which they need if they are to feature officially in the contest. MPs and activists had protested that next Thursday’s 12.30pm deadline would stop candidates such as Mr McDonnell from running. A change of heart now looks possible after Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary and leadership contender, supported the demands. “MPs/members annoyed about short nominations timetable: I have to say I agree,” he wrote on Twitter.” – The Independent

“The three former Cabinet ministers have remarkably similar backgrounds: all studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford in the 1980s and completed their education at Harvard before becoming advisers to Mr Brown or Tony Blair. But Mr Balls hinted that his roots were more provincial than those of the metropolitan Milibands, who have spent recent years “travelling around the world” as Cabinet ministers responsible for foreign affairs and climate change.” – The Times

“It says something about the Labour gene pool that all the serious candidates for the leadership are white Oxbridge-educated men in their forties who were special advisers in 1997. They are, as John McDonnell — the leftwinger who is standing but won’t win — put it “the sons of Blair and sons of Brown”.” – The Times

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Vernon Coaker on why he is Ed Balls’ campaign manager

19/05/2010, 02:49:45 PM

The Labour leadership contest provides our party with an exciting opportunity to debate the future as well learn from the past and reflect on the 2010 General Election result.

It has also been inspiring to see a party which, while disappointed with the result, is not dispirited or downhearted. A party which will not allow our proud record of 13 years in government  to be trashed and one which will hold this new coalition to account for their actions in a responsible but determined way.

So the person that we select for our leader has to be someone who will stand up for our record but also recognise our shortcomings. Someone who sees this election contest as a way of re-energising our thoughts and views about how we tackle the issues that matter: immigration, housing, welfare reform. Someone to stand up for the decent, hard-working majority.

Such a person will need to be strong and willing to face down the Tories and Liberal Democrats as they attack us, but also able to listen and connect with real people in real communities up and down the country. (more…)

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Wednesday News Review

19/05/2010, 06:58:03 AM

Ed Balls to join leadership race

“Mr Balls will travel to the Midlands today to give a speech from Gedling, Nottinghamshire, a marginal constituency which Labour unexpectedly held at the election. Its MP, Vernon Coaker, is among those backing Mr Balls. His declaration takes the number of leadership candidates to three. David Miliband, the former foreign secretary, and his younger brother, Ed, had been the only others to officially launch their leadership bids.” – The Independent

Ed Balls will announce tomorrow that he will join the race to replace Gordon Brown, as Labour opted for a marathon timetable to elect a new leader. The party’s ruling executive committee responded to calls for a cathartic contest by laying out a four-month battle lasting through the summer. The new leader will be announced on the first Saturday of the party’s annual conference in September. Balls, the former schools secretary, will launch his bid while visiting two marginal constituencies in the Midlands. At the general election, the party lost one of the seats and gained the other.” – The Guardian

“David Cameron and Nick Clegg must be delighted that no women, ethnic minority candidates or working class men have entered the Labour leadership race. Assuming Ed Balls throws his hat into the ring today, he’ll be the third white, middle class man to enter the fray, joining Ed and David Miliband.” – Toby Young, The Telegraph

“The ex-Schools Secretary will join David and Ed Miliband in trying to succeed Gordon Brown. Labour bosses said yesterday the new leader will be named on September 25, the first day of the annual conference. Mr Balls, a close political ally of Mr Brown, will get heavyweight backing from trade unions.” – The Sun

“Mr Balls is expected to formally announce his candidacy today. David and Ed Miliband have already confirmed they are in the running. Andy Burnham, who was Health Secretary under Gordon Brown, is also expected to stand. Jon Cruddas, a backbencher who had been tipped to take part in the contest, has said that he will not be a candidate. Left-wing MP John McDonnell will also announce tomorrow that he intends to stand.” – Sky News

The leadership contest

“It is a tragedy for Labour that the best woman for the job isn’t even standing for the party’s leadership. Yvette Cooper would expose David Cameron and Nick Clegg as a couple of out-of-touch posh boys just by appearing at a TV podium. Persuasive and articulate, this comprehensive-educated daughter of a trade union leader is a family-friendly politician. And that’s a significant reason why the mum-of-three isn’t running. The former cabinet minister is ambitious, but not so ambitious that she’d trade her life for a thankless post with uncertain prospects.” – The Mirror

“The design specifications are exact: fortysomething Oxbridge boys who approach ideological difference through their choice of ties, who understand the importance of political stagecraft and who see no difference between “the country” and television’s demographics. Since the creation of the Blair template, they have become, as Labour is discovering, compulsory. They have to be young(ish), therefore energetic, therefore new, therefore capable of associating their brands with the word “change”. A foreigner might have difficulty in distinguishing between a Cameron, a Clegg and a Miliband (any Miliband) in an identity parade, but that’s of no account, least of all to the contestants.” – The Herald

“THE BATTLE for the Labour Party leadership is expected to intensify today with a declaration by former cabinet minister Ed Balls, but a row is looming over the decision to close off nominations next week. Even though the election will not be decided until Labour’s September annual conference, the party’s national executive committee yesterday decided that nominations would close tomorrow week. Gordon Brown’s replacement will be chosen by an electoral college split three ways between MPs, Labour Party members and union members who have not opted out of paying a political levy.” – The Irish Times

GB tried to resign before election

Gordon Brown drafted a speech on the eve of the general election campaign setting out plans to stand down within a year of the poll, but was persuaded by senior ministers not to go ahead. At a meeting on the eve of the election, his proposal to announce his plan to stand down was supported by David Muir, his director of political strategy and chief polling adviser. But Ed Balls, Lord Mandelson and Douglas Alexander argued against the idea.” – The Guardian

“Supported by David Muir, his director of political strategy and chief polling adviser, Brown announced his plan at a meeting on the eve of the election campaign, but was dissuaded by Ed Balls, Lord Mandelson and Douglas Alexander. According to an adviser Mr Brown had even drafted a speech setting out his intentions because he saw himself as a barrier to Labour’s re-election.” – The Telegraph

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