The New Statesman’s rolling politics blog


Jack Straw endorses David Miliband for leadership

Former justice secretary says that David Miliband has the “strength and depth” to lead the Labour Pa

Jack Straw has announced that he is backing David Miliband in the Labour leadership contest.

The shadow justice secretary said that Miliband Sr "has the strength and the depth to stand up to David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions week after week, and he can stand up for the people who will be most badly hit in our communities".

Miliband said he was "honoured" to have the endorsement, commenting that "Jack Straw has worked with Labour leaders since Harold Wilson".

It is no surprise that Straw -- the "great survivor" of the New Labour project, first in the Blair camp, then in Brown's -- has made this endorsement. If nothing else, his nomination for Diane Abbott was a giveaway. Her votes came mainly from Socialist Campaign Group members and from supporters of David Miliband whom he lobbied to help her get on to the ballot paper.

However, the man whom Barbara Castle said she hired for his "guile and low cunning" is a consummate politician, known for his canny judgement. In an interview with him, the New Statesman editor, Jason Cowley, noted that he has been "a kind of political weathervane, always knowing in which direction the wind was blowing".

Miliband-D will be hoping that the judgement of this old-timer, who is soon to step back from front-line politics, is still on the money.

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