Commons Confidential

Boy 'Band and his groupies.

Big brother must be green with envy at Miliband Jr's popularity. Ed, the Climate Secretary, is now so hot that fans give him the full pop-star treatment. My snout heard a Milibandite screech, “Ed, I love you -- sign my shoe," at a recent London gathering. Ed seemed startled, but scribbled on the proffered boot. A Westminster cynic whispered that while Foreign Secretary David has the ambition to lead Labour but few supporters, Ed has the followers but little ambition. Ed's screaming admirer, incidentally, was male.

To Brighton in the pouring rain for David Cameron's party act. Heavy make-up gave the Tory leader an unhealthy grey pallor. Or perhaps it was the Sunday Times poll released that morning. Looking similarly off-colour was the Tory worker from whom Eric Pickles borrowed £10 for a taxi. Pickles hails from Yorkshire, where folk are careful with their brass. The aide's expression suggested that he thought it was the last he'd see of that tenner.

The satellite channel Wedding TV has asked Speaker John Bercow if it can film civil partnerships that take place in Westminster. The inaugural ceremony is that of the Europe minister, Chris Bryant, who, though rarely camera-shy, knows from bitter experience that not all publicity is good publicity. Bryant's mobile number was uncovered in the investigation into the News of the World's phone-tapping, when the Tory chief spinner, Andy "I Knew Nothing" Coulson, was editor.

Rumours are sweeping Downing Street that Gordon Brown's spokesman, Simon Lewis, keeps a diary. If so, one tale unlikely to appear is what I hear Sideshow Simon said when the PM's plane landed in Belfast for talks to save the Good Friday Agreement. “It's good," he said, "to be back in Ireland." The rest of the entourage was glad that the unionist leader Peter Robinson wasn't in earshot.

David "Over the" Hill, Blair's one-time director of communications, is the latest blast from the past to join Labour's election team. After advising the Chinese embassy on polishing its image, Neanderthal Broon will be a four-week holiday.

How many votes does it take to win a Labour seat? Jack "Mr Harperson" Dromey needed only 65 to secure the Birmingham Erdington sinecure. Anyone know a smaller number?

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

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I believe only Yvette Cooper has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy Corbyn

All the recent polling suggests Andy Burnham is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy Corbyn, says Diana Johnson MP.

Tom Blenkinsop MP on the New Statesman website today says he is giving his second preference to Andy Burnham as he thinks that Andy has the best chance of beating Jeremy.

This is on the basis that if Yvette goes out first all her second preferences will swing behind Andy, whereas if Andy goes out first then his second preferences, due to the broad alliance he has created behind his campaign, will all or largely switch to the other male candidate, Jeremy.

Let's take a deep breath and try and think through what will be the effect of preferential voting in the Labour leadership.

First of all, it is very difficult to know how second preferences will switch. From my telephone canvassing there is some rather interesting voting going on, but I don't accept that Tom’s analysis is correct. I have certainly picked up growing support for Yvette in recent weeks.

In fact you can argue the reverse of Tom’s analysis is true – Andy has moved further away from the centre and, as a result, his pitch to those like Tom who are supporting Liz first is now narrower. As a result, Yvette is more likely to pick up those second preferences.

Stats from the Yvette For Labour team show Yvette picking up the majority of second preferences from all candidates – from the Progress wing supporting Liz to the softer left fans of Jeremy – and Andy's supporters too. Their figures show many undecideds opting for Yvette as their first preference, as well as others choosing to switch their first preference to Yvette from one of the other candidates. It's for this reason I still believe only Yvette has the breadth of support to beat Jeremy and then to go on to win in 2020.

It's interesting that Andy has not been willing to make it clear that second preferences should go to Yvette or Liz. Yvette has been very clear that she would encourage second preferences to be for Andy or Liz.

Having watched Andy on Sky's Murnaghan show this morning, he categorically states that Labour will not get beyond first base with the electorate at a general election if we are not economically credible and that fundamentally Jeremy's economic plans do not add up. So, I am unsure why Andy is so unwilling to be clear on second preferences.

All the recent polling suggests Andy is losing more votes than anyone else to Jeremy. He trails fourth in London – where a huge proportion of our electorate is based.

So I would urge Tom to reflect more widely on who is best placed to provide the strongest opposition to the Tories, appeal to the widest group of voters and reach out to the communities we need to win back. I believe that this has to be Yvette.

The Newsnight focus group a few days ago showed that Yvette is best placed to win back those former Labour voters we will need in 2020.

Labour will pay a massive price if we ignore this.

Diana Johnson is the Labour MP for Hull North.