James Forsyth

Miliband’s dilemma

Miliband's dilemma
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The day after the leader’s speech is always a slightly flat time at a party conference. But Manchester today feels particularly flat. Everyone knows that the two big political stories are happening down in London: David Miliband’s expected announcement that he is not standing for the shadow Cabinet and the Fox flap.

One of the challenges for Ed Miliband is going to be asserting his authority with his parliamentary colleagues, most of whom didn’t vote for him. Added to this is the fact that many of them remember him as a young bag-carrier. Members of the shadow Cabinet were openly mocking his ‘new generation’ line last night.

All this is going to make his performances in the Commons chamber more important than usual. They’ll play a key role in determining his standing with his colleagues. It’ll be intriguing to see if he opts for a consensual approach at PMQs, asking questions on worthy topics, or goes for full-on confrontation.