New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014

September 21st 2014.

Ed Miliband and Jason Cowley at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014 sponsored by Hitachi EU


Ed Miliband and George Eaton at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014 sponsored by Hitachi EU

Taken at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014 sponsored by Hitachi EU

Sir Stephen Gommersall, Group Chairman for Europe, Hitachi, Chuka Umunna and guests at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014.

Andrew Neil and Douglas Alexander at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014 sponsored by Hitachi EU

Chuka Umunna at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014

Mark Henderson, CEO, Home Group and guests at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014

Sir Stephen Gommersall, Group Chairman for Europe, Hitachi speaking at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014

Ed Miliband speaking at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014

John Allan, Honorary National Chairman of FSB, Sir Stephen Gommersall, Group Chairman for Europe, Hitachi, Chuka Umunna and Jason Cowley, Editor of the New Statesman; at the New Statesman Labour party conference reception 2014.

A year on from the Spending Review, the coalition's soothsayer has emerged to offer another gloomy economic prognosis. Asked by ITV News whether he could promise that there wouldn't be a double-dip recession, Vince Cable replied: "I can't do that.

Is that victory he's pointing to? Photo: Getty Images
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Just how good are Jeremy Corbyn's chances?

Jeremy Corbyn continues his remarkable surge. But how worried should his opponents be?

Jeremy Corbyn continues his remarkable campaign. Our rolling tally of constituency nominations has him at 28 - ten behind the bookmakers' favourite Andy Burnham and six ahead of Yvette Cooper. Liz Kendall, the modernisers' candidate, is in a distant fourth place.

It's spooked Labour First - the independent organisation of what used to be called Labour's "old right", into calling for a joint line against Corbyn from supporters of Burnham, Cooper and Kendall. Are they right to be worried? 

It looks increasingly likely that trade unionists will make up just a tenth of the total - well short of the third of the vote they made up under the old system, weakening Corbyn slightly (he has the endorsement of Unite, which makes up the bulk of those trade unionists). My initial instinct is that CLP nominations would help the party's left and old right slightly, boosting Corbyn and Cooper's soores. They are, after all, as one sympathetic MP observed, "the ones who really like meetings". 

But from checking the figures last time it appears that my instincts may be wrong. David Miliband got 40 per cent of CLP nominations - close to his final share of 44 per cent among party members. Ed Miliband got 38 per cent from CLP nominations and 30 per cent from party members. Ed Balls got four per cent of CLPs and 10 per cent from members. Diane Abbot secured just four per cent of CLP nominations and seven percent of the vote. And Burnham got 11 per cent of the vote and four per cent from members. 

So while it's not a perfect guide - and my hunch is that the hostility towards Kendall on social media will mean her supporters eschew these meetings, meaning she will outperform her nomination total - recent history suggests that it is a half-decent one. I predicted shortly before Corbyn made the ballot that he would "surprise a lot of people" with how well he did in the race. I still don't think he can quite make the winning post - but the prospect of a Corbyn victory should be taken seriously.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.