Ed Miliband now bookies’ favourite to win Labour leadership

Both the punters and the pollsters now predict an Ed Miliband victory.

The votes may be in and counting may have began, but with the result of the Labour leadership election just a day away, Ed Miliband is gathering some final momentum.

Within the past few minutes, it's emerged that he is now the bookies' favourite to win the contest, the first time the markets have put him ahead of David. The news means that both the pollsters and the punters are predicting an Ed Miliband victory on Saturday.

Below are the latest odds from Political Smarkets:

Odds

Over at PoliticalBetting, Mike Smithson is calling it for Ed, noting that the younger Miliband appears to have gained ground in the MP/MEP third of the electoral college.

Elsewhere, the Guardian reports that David will serve under Ed if he loses the election, a sign that the elder Miliband's camp is at least preparing for the possibility of defeat.

Meanwhile, the other candidates are beginning to take stock of their campaigns. Ed Balls all but concedes defeat, suggesting that his close association with Gordon Brown proved fatal.

He says:

Gordon lost the election, and I was the person most associated with his leadership. Early on in the crucial first few months everyone was looking backwards to Brown, and saying it was time to move on . . . A lot of people have said to me: "You have fought the best campaign, but this is a two-horse race." It was very hard to break through that.

Andy Burnham criticises the electoral college system and calls for its replacement with a one-member-one vote system. He points out, as I have done before, that the vote of one MP is worth 600 times the vote of an ordinary party member. Whoever wins the leadership should put reform of the voting system on their agenda.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Theresa May’s stage-managed election campaign keeps the public at bay

Jeremy Corbyn’s approach may be chaotic, but at least it’s more authentic.

The worst part about running an election campaign for a politician? Having to meet the general public. Those ordinary folk can be a tricky lot, with their lack of regard for being on-message, and their pesky real-life concerns.

But it looks like Theresa May has decided to avoid this inconvenience altogether during this snap general election campaign, as it turns out her visit to Leeds last night was so stage-managed that she barely had to face the public.

Accusations have been whizzing around online that at a campaign event at the Shine building in Leeds, the Prime Minister spoke to a room full of guests invited by the party, rather than local people or people who work in the building’s office space.

The Telegraph’s Chris Hope tweeted a picture of the room in which May was addressing her audience yesterday evening a little before 7pm. He pointed out that, being in Leeds, she was in “Labour territory”:

But a few locals who spied this picture online claimed that the audience did not look like who you’d expect to see congregated at Shine – a grade II-listed Victorian school that has been renovated into a community project housing office space and meeting rooms.

“Ask why she didn’t meet any of the people at the business who work in that beautiful building. Everyone there was an invite-only Tory,” tweeted Rik Kendell, a Leeds-based developer and designer who says he works in the Shine building. “She didn’t arrive until we’d all left for the day. Everyone in the building past 6pm was invite-only . . . They seemed to seek out the most clinical corner for their PR photos. Such a beautiful building to work in.”

Other tweeters also found the snapshot jarring:

Shine’s founders have pointed out that they didn’t host or invite Theresa May – rather the party hired out the space for a private event: “All visitors pay for meeting space in Shine and we do not seek out, bid for, or otherwise host any political parties,” wrote managing director Dawn O'Keefe. The guestlist was not down to Shine, but to the Tory party.

The audience consisted of journalists and around 150 Tory activists, according to the Guardian. This was instead of employees from the 16 offices housed in the building. I have asked the Conservative Party for clarification of who was in the audience and whether it was invite-only and am awaiting its response.

Jeremy Corbyn accused May of “hiding from the public”, and local Labour MP Richard Burgon commented that, “like a medieval monarch, she simply briefly relocated her travelling court of admirers to town and then moved on without so much as a nod to the people she considers to be her lowly subjects”.

But it doesn’t look like the Tories’ painstaking stage-management is a fool-proof plan. Having uniform audiences of the party faithful on the campaign trail seems to be confusing the Prime Minister somewhat. During a visit to a (rather sparsely populated) factory in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, yesterday, she appeared to forget where exactly on the campaign trail she was:

The management of Corbyn’s campaign has also resulted in gaffes – but for opposite reasons. A slightly more chaotic approach has led to him facing the wrong way, with his back to the cameras.

Corbyn’s blunder is born out of his instinct to address the crowd rather than the cameras – May’s problem is the other way round. Both, however, seem far more comfortable talking to the party faithful, even if they are venturing out of safe seat territory.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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