Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today including the Balls/Cooper conundrum and Ed Miliband's atheism.

1. When Brown beat Blair in an election

Coffee House's Peter Hoskin looks back at the results of previous shadow cabinet elections and discovers that Gordon Brown topped the poll in 1992.

2. The Balls/Cooper conundrum

Paul Waugh asks whether Ed Balls or Yvette Cooper will come out on top in the battle for the shadow chancellorship.

3. 10 things I've learned at the Labour conference

Andrew Sparrow shares his observations from Manchester about the state of the party, and what the immediate future holds.

4. Ed Miliband is atheist - so what?

At Though Cowards Flinch, Carl P says that athiests and believers alike are wrong to draw significance from Ed Miliband's views on God.

5. A murky deal in the Labour leadership vote

Newsnight's Michael Crick uncovers details of a late deal between supporters of Ed Balls and Ed Miliband.

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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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