Unison endorses Ed Miliband for Labour leader

Miliband has now won two of the “big three” trade unions.

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David Miliband may be steaming ahead in the polls, but it's Brother Ed who's winning over the trade unions. A few minutes ago, the 1.3 million-strong Unison announced that it would be supporting him in the Labour leadership election.

Miliband has now won the backing of two of the "big three" unions (the GMB nominated him last week), with only Unite left to declare. Ed Balls's team has long been hopeful of winning the Unite nomination, but Miliband has some significant backers in the union, including the joint general secretary, Derek Simpson, who anointed him as Labour's next leader in an interview with the NS in March.

Since the abolition of the trade union block vote under John Smith, members have been free to vote as they wish, but in practice a significant number of Unison's members will back Miliband. In the 2007 deputy Labour leadership election, about 40-50 per cent of trade unionists voted for the candidate recommended by their union's leadership.

The unions have given Miliband's candidacy the momentum it needs: Ladbrokes immediately shortened the odds on him becoming Labour leader. The challenge he now faces is to prove that he has popular appeal beyond his centre-left base.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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New Digital Editor: Serena Kutchinsky

The New Statesman appoints Serena Kutchinsky as Digital Editor.

Serena Kutchinsky is to join the New Statesman as digital editor in September. She will lead the expansion of the New Statesman across a variety of digital platforms.

Serena has over a decade of experience working in digital media and is currently the digital editor of Newsweek Europe. Since she joined the title, traffic to the website has increased by almost 250 per cent. Previously, Serena was the digital editor of Prospect magazine and also the assistant digital editor of the Sunday Times - part of the team which launched the Sunday Times website and tablet editions.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman editor, said: “Serena joins us at a great time for the New Statesman, and, building on the excellent work of recent years, she has just the skills and experience we need to help lead the next stage of our expansion as a print-digital hybrid.”

Serena Kutchinsky said: “I am delighted to be joining the New Statesman team and to have the opportunity to drive forward its digital strategy. The website is already established as the home of free-thinking journalism online in the UK and I look forward to leading our expansion and growing the global readership of this historic title.

In June, the New Statesman website recorded record traffic figures when more than four million unique users read more than 27 million pages. The circulation of the weekly magazine is growing steadily and now stands at 33,400, the highest it has been since the early 1980s.