David Miliband

Jim Pickard

Paul Waugh has an intriguing quote from Diane Abbott, the surprise Labour leadership contender, suggesting that David Miliband is already into three figures in terms of MPs’ support:

“David Miliband is hoovering up nominations. Quite rightly, he’s a very able candidate, he’s got over 100. It’s just it squeezes everybody else. There’s a slight tendency – it’s not a tendency which David Miliband encourages – for people to think ‘well, who’s going to win, let me nominate them because I’ll get a job.’” Read more

The Labour national executive has opted for the long game: the next leader will be anointed on September 25. This is probably bad news for party’s right wing: the longer the campaign, the more pressure there will be to woo the grassroots with promises to protect spending.

It was apparently a “friendly and comradely” meeting. But the stakes were high. Those lobbying for an extended campaign wanted to stop a “coronation” and give all the outsiders  (Burnham, Balls etc) time to grab the spotlight.

But I expect the bigger problem for David Miliband will be the kind of commitments that will have to be made in the leadership race.

This campaign is not only going to straddle the emergency Budget. It will end just weeks before the most austere spending review in living memory. There’s a good chance of a “cuts vs investment” auction. Read more

The Brown team assembled today for the last full cabinet photo before the election. Two ministers were notably absent: Alistair Darling and David Miliband. They both had good excuses. But somehow it seems fitting. Was this as close as Brown will ever get to his fantasy cabinet? You have to wonder whether Ed Balls assumed the chancellor’s place. Smiles everyone!