James Forsyth

The aftermath of Labour’s contest

The aftermath of Labour's contest
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As soon as the first round result popped up the screen, an expert on the Labour electoral college turned to me and said ‘Ed has won’. David was not far enough ahead on first preferences to win. But it was also clear that David was likely to win MPs and members — that Ed was going to win thanks to the union vote. Now, the union vote is no longer a bloc vote. But in terms of legitimacy it is widely perceived to trail the members and MPs sections.

The nature of his victory will make Ed Miliband’s task harder over the next few weeks, the Red Ed tag is now more dangerous to him. But before people on the right get too triumphalist, it is worth remembering that Ed Miliband — as he has proved these past few months — is an astute politician and a natural communicator.

One other thing worth noting is Ed Balls’ third place finish. Balls ran the most impressive campaign, but all the issues surrounding what he did as a Brown henchmen meant that he could never break through. But his performance in this contest has done much to launder his reputation in Labour circles.

Balls is doing the Politics Show tomorrow and it will be fascinating to see if he continues his semi-declared campaign to be shadow Chancellor or holds off now there is a new leader.

I’m led to believe that we won’t get any shadow Cabinet appointment until the shadow Cabinet elections are done on the 7th of October. But the speculation about what Ed will offer his brother is going to be intense over the next fortnight.