David Miliband’s advisers are confirming that he is leaving Manchester and is heading back to London. That is surely not the behaviour of a politician who is about to say he will run for the shadow cabinet and unite behind his brother. I could still be wrong – but it seems increasingly likely that he will quit frontline politics.
A key moment today, picked up by Channel 4, was when Ed Miliband criticised the Iraq invasion. David, stony-faced, refused to clap. He turned to Harriet Harman, politely applauding next to him, and whispered:
Jim and Alex will write a live blog of Ed Miliband’s keynote speech to the Labour party conference this afternoon. Come back here at about 2.15pm UK time to follow their coverage of the address by Labour’s new leader.
Several senior Labour figures believed, or at least hoped*, that Diane Abbott would not stand for the shadow cabinet. I’m not sure they will be universally delighted to find out – in a few minutes – that she is going to throw her name into the hat. Given her high profile, after running in the leadership contest, she is likely to get into the final 19 (especially given that at least 6 seats are guaranteed for female MPs).
Will Ed MIliband welcome her outspoken left-wing views when he is trying to shrug off the RedEd tag? Not necesssarily. And will she enjoy the discipline of having to stick to the party line on a specific policy beat? We shall find out.