David Miliband appears to be leading this race

But his brother's camp is still talking tough.

The ComRes-BBC Daily Politics poll highlighted by my colleague Caroline Crampton appears to have breathed new life into the David Miliband campaign for the Labour leadership, showing him ahead among councillors polled in first, second and third preference votes.

The results echo those in past "primaries" and appear to show David Miliband on course to victory even after the distribution of votes during knock-out stages. The poll appears to question the claim in the Ed Miliband camp that the younger brother will win on the basis of second preferences. The claim, pushed in an article in yesterday's Guardian, led to mild retribution from supporters of David Miliband last night. One said that to talk of victory not on the basis of coming first was "an act of desperation".

But a source close to Ed Miliband told the New Statesman that the Daily Politics poll is a "survey that is not representative of the whole membership", and pointed out that the fieldwork was conducted in July. "It is historical -- a lot has changed in August."

Both Miliband camps maintain they are confident of victory.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.