Tuesday, April 17, 2007

David Milliband and the Labour leadership

The announcement today from David Milliband that he's not running is really no shock at all. While the speculation of the past few weeks was that he was going to put his hat in the ring, every time when questioned he ruled it out. While David Milliband is an immensely talented politician, he clearly recognised that his chances of succeeding were very low.

In terms of the contest, yes I believe the party would benefit from a leadership contest from a serious candidate (and I exclude McDonnell and Meacher from that category) and that Gordon Brown would be strengthened by facing an opponent. The end outcome will inevitably be success for Gordon Brown, however it would create a genuine debate within the party on our future direction.

Recently certain sectors of the media have embarked on a character assassination of Gordon Brown who has been Labour's most successful Chancellor ever. The pathetic attempt today by George Osborne and the Conservatives to no-confidence Brown on the change to pension taxation in 1997 is part of that process.

At the end of the day, Gordon Brown will be the next Prime Minister (no great surprise!) and that once in position, Labour's ratings will improve. We are going through a difficult time at the moment, we are in uncharted territory in terms of the time we've been in power, clearly we need to renew ourselves in office and go forward.

I believe Labour will win a fourth term in office and Gordon Brown will be just the person to achieve that success. In winning the next election, I will also be supporting Hazel Blears as the next Deputy Leader of the party and together they'll make a formidable force in the country. David Cameron may think that he's set for power, but we still have a few years till the next election and polls can change in a short period. I have full confidence in Gordon Brown and believe that we’ve a record of achievement in office to be proud of over the last ten years under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.


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