Labour leadership contest

The launch of Ed Balls’ leadership bid today is a reminder of why his efforts may founder; he’s just too close to the ancien regime. As former acolyte of Gordon Brown he will always struggle to set out an alternative vision for Labour without knifing the former prime minister. Read more

Apologies for the slight delay. It’s a long walk back from the steps of St Stephen’s entrance through the corridors of the Commons and back to my desk.

So, David Miliband will stand for the Labour leadership. It’s official.

Surrounded by a phalanx of 14 MPs*, including former ministers Gareth Thomas and Jim Fitzpatrick, whip Mark Tami and several newcomers – three women were noticeably at the forefront – he made his pitch**. The actual launch won’t come until next week, in his constituency of South Shields. Here’s the text of the speech.

Miliband said it was an exciting time in politics (er, obviously) and with the new coalition there was an opportunity for Labour to dominate the left and centre-left – ie at the expense of the Lib Dems. He promised the contest would be “warm, generous, comradely” (will Ed Balls make the same vow?) and soon disappeared back into the building. No mention of his brother.

The little group lost momentum as they walked back past Westminster Hall and stood, slightly depleted, in the central lobby. One of the followers, a new MP by my estimate, seemed a bit lost. “Come with me,” said Miliband. “You can come with me.” Read more