Gordon Brown gives (shock!) his best speech of the campaign

Genuinely moved Prime Minister embraces crying child of mother on low wages.

I am sending this from a Citizens UK gathering at Methodist Central Hall in London, where an audience of 2,500 community activists has just witnessed extraordinary scenes involving a girl whose mother and grandmother are on such low wages, working as cleaners at the Treasury, that there is no time to learn English or spend time together, as they travel in by bus at 3.30am.

Pundits may ridicule the fact that they work in messy Brown's old office, but -- if this speech gets pick-up -- it will go down as one of the most significant moments in this campaign.

Brown, speaking as I type, is genuinely moved. He looks angry about poverty, determined and serious. As he talks through his values, instilled in him by his Church of Scotland father, "bigotgate" seems a very long way away. And as he talks of the minimum wage, the audience are going wild for him, even more so than they did for Nick Clegg.

This is Brown at his best. Labour strategists will wish he could be like this all the time, and certainly over the next couple of days.

A heckler just emerged and was instantly booed and ushered out. Boy, did he get the mood wrong.

UPDATE: Here's a video of the full speech. Hat-tip: Political Scrapbook.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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