Peter Hoskin

Jon Cruddas continues to swing behind David Miliband

Jon Cruddas continues to swing behind David Miliband
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One thing's for sure: the Labour leadership contest is a lot more uncertain than a lot of people expected. Polls such as that by YouGov today, and analysis by Left Foot Forward last week, suggest that the Brothers Miliband are pushing each other all the way to the finishing line – particularly when second preference votes are stirred into the mix. Which is perhaps the main reason why even the smallest interventions could have an influence on the result, and are worth tracking if you're minded towards that kind of thing.

In which case, I point you towards Jon Cruddas's article for the latest New Statesman in which he makes the case that Labour needs to do more to court English votes. And who else has made a similar argument recently? Ah, yes, David Miliband, and in the pages of the New Statesman too. Admittedly, Cruddas does go further than Miliband did on the matter – talking forcefully about New Labour's "dystopian 'winner takes all' ethos". But throw in his recent comments about Miliband's Keir Hardie lecture, and it all fuels the sense that Cruddas takes the elder brother more seriously than he does the other candidates.

This could help David Miliband in a number of ways, but primarily it improves his cross-party appeal. The question now is how much energy Cruddas wants to expend on any potential partnership. He's been quite coy about it so far. But if the Dagenham MP puts in anything like as much effort as he did when building a consensus with James Purnell, then it could improve Miliband D's chances considerably over these weary summer months.