Liz kendall

Labour’s leadership contest turns sour (again)

It seems ‘Taliban New Labour‘ have returned, or at least that’s what some party members would have you believe. Labour MP John Woodcock — who is backing Liz Kendall — has risked the wrath of his party with a blog post about the Labour leadership contest: ‘If those who seek to take his place think the route to victory in the leadership contest is Continuity Miliband with a different accent or gender, or with a higher level of emotional connection, they will consign Labour to another defeat.’ Are these 41 words in anyway controversial? Woodcock doesn’t think so, but the blog post has upset the Labour leadership apple cart. Apparently we are seeing the

Alan Milburn finally confronts Labour with the hard truth about Tony Blair

Alan Milburn has told Labour something it does not want to hear: Tony Blair was as great for the party as Margaret Thatcher was for the Tories. At a breakfast with the Centre for Social Justice this morning, the former health secretary argued that  Labour ‘could not have got it more wrong’ at the last election and urged the party to snap out of its ‘self-delusion’ that New Labour and Blair were all bad: ‘Great leaders always have a big purpose. For Churchill it was victory in war, for Thatcher victory against a stifling state. For Blair it was victory against old-fashioned attitudes and institutions that held our country back. Today, to

It has to be Liz Kendall, doesn’t it?

The most revealing moment in the Labour debate last night came when a questioner asked ‘what qualities do you share with Nicola Sturgeon that could make you as successful as a party leader?’ The unctuous manner in which the question was delivered suggested that being an English Sturgeon was a fine thing to be. No Labour member would think of asking ‘what qualities do you share with David Cameron that could make you as successful as a party leader’ — even though Cameron has just won a majority against the predictions of everyone —including himself. The unctuous manner in which the men and women who would lead the Labour Party

Team Burnham: Liz Kendall’s ‘country should come first’ remark was a ‘cheap point’

The one memorable moment from last night’s Labour leadership debate was Liz Kendall’s remark that ‘country should come first’, with regards to another leadership contest before 2020. It was a swipe at Andy Burnham, who had said that the ‘party should come first.’ Team Kendall is understandably pleased at the Vines and clips of this exchange. It has given her campaign some crucial momentum and ensures that the contest remains a three-horse race. In a debate that was otherwise pretty uneventful, this exchange is likely to stick with both Burnham and Kendall. But a source on Burnham’s campaign suggests that the remark has been misinterpreted: ‘Andy clearly meant “party before


Labour’s ‘attack dog’ turns on Laura Kuenssberg over BBC debate

Last night’s Newsnight Labour leadership debate proved to be a rather dull affair with all four hopefuls failing to make a strong impression. While many were quick to suggest that this was down to lacklustre leadership candidates, party members have come up with a different reason the broadcast failed to impress. Step forward Laura Kuenssberg: Labour’s ‘attack dog‘ Michael Dugher — who is backing Andy Burnham for leader — appeared to point the finger of blame at the Newsnight presenter for her chairing of the debate. The shadow transport secretary, who previously worked closely with Labour spin doctor Damian McBride under Gordon Brown, took to Twitter to complain that ‘she never shut up’: The sentiment was shared

Labour’s first televised leadership hustings were dull and achieved very little

The first televised debate in the Labour leadership contest was a rather dull affair. None of the candidates shone and no one stumbled. Although there were a few moments of interest, everyone conformed to their stereotypes. Andy Burnham was brash and appeared too keen to speak over the other candidates. He spoke about the problems of the ‘Westminster elite’ and how Labour needs to break free from that mould — despite having worked in politics his whole career and even spending time as a special adviser before becoming an MP. Yvette Cooper was the best performer and gave a good response to the question on the welfare state, citing her


Liz Kendall on safe ground for Newsnight debate

Tonight’s Newsnight debate will see the four Labour leadership hopefuls — Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Jeremy Corbyn — head to Nuneaton in a bid to boost their campaigns. Given that this week, Kendall’s supporters have been dubbed the ‘New Labour Taliban‘ by a Labour source, relations are likely to be strained between the four. However, Kendall can at least take heart that she is on safe ground in Nuneaton, a seat which Labour failed to win the election. The party’s candidate in the election, Vicky Fowler is backing Kendall. She says that after the failure of Labour to win the seat became the ‘point at which the scale of Labour’s defeat across

When will the Labour leadership contenders realise it’s the 2020 election they’re fighting?

Tonight’s Newsnight Labour leadership debate is a sink or swim moment for Liz Kendall. So far, there has been a lot of talk about Kendall’s candidacy and her potential to be a reforming leader. But until now, there hasn’t been a lot of proof to back that up. Some have been whispering that she doesn’t perform well under sustained pressure; others have likened her supporters to the Taliban. Either way, tonight’s debate is her opportunity to show that she is credible — as well as hopefully answering the crucial question of what, if anything, she stands for. It’s a mistake to label Kendall as just the Blairite right-wing candidate. Again, she has

Forget Jeremy Corbyn, I’m backing Liz Kendall for Labour leader

I daresay some of you lot are amusing yourselves by joining the Labour Party for three quid so as to vote for Jeremy Corbyn in the forthcoming leadership election. Can’t say I blame you – it would be a hoot to watch. That being said, he is not the worst candidate on the list. At least Corbyn has a critique of why Labour lost. A wrong critique, I think – just as it was wrong when Tony Benn said the same stuff after the 1983 disaster. But a critique at least (and Corbyn, when he doesn’t mention the IRA, can be a fairly agreeable chap). No – the thing is,

2015 Labour leadership contest — who’s nominated who

The Labour leadership contest is in full swing, with Labour MPs announcing who will they be backing to be the next leader. Under new rules, each candidate requires the backing of 35 MPs to make it into the ballot paper. Four candidates have made it onto the ballot paper: The candidates MPs backing Bookies’ odds YouGov poll Andy Burnham 68 (on the ballot) 4/5 10% Yvette Cooper 59 (on the ballot) 11/4 4% Liz Kendall 41 (on the ballot) 3/1 7% Jeremy Corbyn 36 (on the ballot) 25/1  4% Who’s backing who Andy Burnham Yvette Cooper Liz Kendall Jeremy Corbyn Mary Creagh (dropped out) Unknown Alan Meale Adrian Bailey Alison McGovern Andrew Smith

Team Burnham: ‘Taliban New Labour’ remarks came from Cooper’s campaign

Who described the folks backing Liz Kendall as the ‘Taliban New Labour’? The Telegraph’s story this morning attributed the vituperative comments to a ‘sources close to Burnham and Cooper,’ but both campaigns are distancing themselves from the remarks. A source on Team Burnham tells Coffee House that the comments came from Yvette’s Team and not from anyone on the Burnham campaign. But Team Cooper on the other hand is quick to say that the comments did not come from them either. A source on Cooper’s campaign says: ‘I don’t think it helps to get into finger pointing. It absolutely wasn’t us. It’s not language we endorse or have even heard. It’s not a very useful contribution

Jeremy Corbyn makes Labour leadership ballot paper

Thanks to a last minute rush of nominations, Jeremy Corbyn has made it onto the Labour leadership ballot paper. Corbyn had 30 MPs backing him at 11am this morning and it seems some undecideds and Team Burnham defectors were persuaded it would be a good thing to have Corbyn in the contest, taking him to the 35 names he needed. The MP for Islington North is now the most left-wing candidate to fight a Labour leadership election since Tony Benn ran against Neil Kinnock in 1988. But as you can see from the list of MPs nominating him below, many of those backing Corbyn are not his natural supporters. In fact some, such

The Labour leadership contest is about to get nasty

Today is the last call for nominating candidates in the Labour leadership contest. At noon, the nominations will close and we’ll know then whether it’s going to be a three or four horse race. Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall are on the ballot paper so it’s now a question of whether Jeremy Corbyn can find the extra 17 MPs to meet the 15 per cent threshold. By our calculations, there are 42 MPs still to declare, so it remains very possible that a late surge will push Corbyn towards the 35 nominations needed to make it onto the ballot Once nominations are closed, the leadership race is thrown into the hands of Labour party

Mary Creagh drops out of Labour leadership contest

Mary Creagh has announced she is withdrawing from the Labour leadership contest. The shadow international development secretary has explained in tomorrow’s Guardian that she is quitting the race but won’t be backing another candidate. Given that Creagh had just seven MPs openly backing her — with only a rumoured handful still in the shadows — it was increasingly clear over the last week that she wouldn’t get the 35 names she needs to get on the ballot paper. Creagh has used her spot in the Guardian to attack Ed Miliband’s leadership. She says Labour was too anti-business under him and that this approach must be reversed if the party is to have any chance of making it back into power. Creagh cites an incident during her

Ed’s campaign was fine. The problem is his party

Patrick Wintour is one of the best political editors around. For the Guardian he’s been for decades a cool and well-sourced voice: even-handed, informed, interesting but in the best sense dry. So when I heard he’d written the most comprehensive behind-the-scenes account yet of Labour’s failed general election campaign I hurried to read it. I was not disappointed. ‘The undoing of Ed Miliband, and how Labour lost the election’ is an insider account of a chapter of accidents, starting with Mr Miliband’s memory lapse about the deficit during Labour’s last party conference. Apparently he shut himself in his hotel room afterwards and wouldn’t come out. The story takes us through to

Gloria de Piero becomes 35th MP to back Liz Kendall — putting her on the ballot paper

Liz Kendall is now on the ballot for Labour leader, thanks to the support of Gloria de Piero. The shadow minister for women and Ashfield MP has announced her support for Kendall in tomorrow’s Daily Mirror. As another shadow cabinet minister backing Kendall, it’s a good boost for her campaign on the eve of the nominations opening. Similarly to Kendall, de Piero believes Labour needs radical change: ‘We need someone from the new generation of Labour MPs to be making the case for change in the Labour Party. Liz is asking the really tough questions that we need to ask. She’s recognised the scale of the defeat, that we lost and lost

James Forsyth

Labour’s role in the EU referendum campaign dominates party hustings

‘There’s a sense that no one is hitting it out of the park right now’, commented one Labour MP after this lunchtime’s Parliamentary Labour Party hustings. I’m told that all the candidates had their moments at the behind closed doors event, but that no one truly dominated. Liz Kendall continued with her role as the teller of hard truths. She warned the assembled MPs that nothing else would matter if people still don’t trust Labour with their money in 2020. Andy Burnham struck a different tone. He stressed that on inequality, Labour must not distance itself too much from the last five years. However, interestingly, he argued that Labour should not abolish right to

Liz Kendall offers tentative support for cutting benefits for EU migrants

Liz Kendall’s turn on the Andrew Marr sofa was slightly shaky and vague on details. She continued on the theme of being the ‘change everything’ candidate but failed on clarify what she would do differently to the Tories and her fellow leadership candidates. When asked by Marr if she was the candidate Yvette Cooper suggested had ‘swallowed’ the Tory manifesto, Kendall noted the level of change Labour needs: ‘The only thing I’ve swallowed is the sheer scale of the defeat that we faced at the election and the huge changes we need to win again. People didn’t trust us with their money or on the economy and we didn’t set out a positive enough vision

Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall put in strong performances at Fabian hustings

The Fabian Society hosted a hustings for the Labour leadership this afternoon, featuring all five of the declared candidates: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall, Mary Creagh and Jeremy Corbyn. Following the Progress event a few weeks ago, this is the second time four of these candidates have appeared onstage together — Corbyn only entered the race a few days ago. Fabian supporters tend to be well disposed towards Ed Miliband so unsurprisingly, the reactions favoured the more left wing sentiments. As the current favourite to win, Andy Burnham has the highest expectations to meet and his turn today suggests he remains the firm favourite — especially if the line for

Liz Kendall: the ‘change everything’ Labour leadership candidate?

The Labour leadership contest will heat up in the next few days. Tomorrow, the Fabian Society will host a hustings with all of the declared candidates. Liz Kendall is set for a grilling on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. On Monday, all of the candidates will address the Parliamentary Labour Party before heading to Dublin for the GMB union’s annual conference. And at noon on Tuesday, the nomination process officially begins. Each of the candidates has something to prove over the next few days. Andy Burnham needs to demonstrate whether he is standing as a reformed Blairite or a Miliband-esque defender of public services. Yvette Cooper needs to prove she has