Peter Hoskin

Is David Miliband still the Labour Party’s choice to succeed Brown?

Is David Miliband still the Labour Party's choice to succeed Brown?
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When the histories of Gordon Brown's premiership are written, I'm sure the events of the past week will get a prominent showing.  And I'm sure, too, that Allegra Stratton's blow-by-blow account in today's Guardian will be among the most useful first-hand sources.

There are plenty of fascinating nuggets in there: how the plotters regard Hazel Blears' resignation as the "moment it started to go wrong" for them; how the Hotmail plot got an email from - the email address of the chief whip - not because he wanted to join them, but because he wanted to sniff them out; and how numerous MPs were dissuaded from acting against Brown by a rumour that he's gone to speak to the Queen.

But the most noteworthy passage comes at the end.  Discussing a list that the plotters compiled of Labour MPs alongside a number indicating their willingness to act against Brown, Stratton makes this observation:

"Something that many got wrong this week, including media commentators, is that the majority of Labour MPs on the list wanted Alan Johnson to take over.  David Miliband would have been closer to the truth."

Now, this list may not have been scientific, and some of the names on it may have changed their minds about Miliband after his actions this week.  But it does sound as though he's got a larger, and far more forgiving, core of support than many folk are accounting for.  I'll leave CoffeeHousers to judge how sensible those supporters are.