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Ed Milibae: how the Labour leader became a fandom icon

Students have created an Ed Miliband fandom, where they praise the leader's government policies, leadership potential - and soulful brown eyes.



He's not the most obvious icon, but Ed Miliband has become the subject of a growing group calling themselves the "milifans". Mostly young women, many of whom are studying for school exams, have taken to Twitter to proclaim their affection for the Labour leader.


The #milifans are also taking on some of the big questions:


Some of the jokes slightly pass this mole by, admittedly:


But some are sheer poetry.


Most importantly, the Milifans are genuinely engaged in politics. Many of them tweet about studying the subject, and the de facto leader of the fandom, a 17-year-old named Abby, is urging other young people to take an interest in Labour policy.


If there's a Milifan in your life, you can buy them a "lifesize" cardboard cut out:

Which, helpfully, can also serve as a sort of domestic scarcrow.


But whatever you do, proceed with caution:


***BREAKING: Ed Miliband has replied!***

So smooth.

ANOTHER UPDATE! He's commented on the Milifandom!

During an interview with Radio 2, Ed's commented on his new fans. "I told my wife about it and she thought it must be a case of mistaken identity," he told Jeremy Vine. "She went from amused to bemused."

"I'm definitely blushing now," he said, before a saucy bit of self-deprecation: "I certainly wouldn’t claim to be cool... I’ve never been called that."

He added that the person who started the fandom is making a "serious" point about young people being given a voice. Swoon.


I'm a mole, innit.

Grant Shapps on the campaign trail. Photo: Getty
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Grant Shapps resigns over Tory youth wing bullying scandal

The minister, formerly party chairman, has resigned over allegations of bullying and blackmail made against a Tory activist. 

Grant Shapps, who was a key figure in the Tory general election campaign, has resigned following allegations about a bullying scandal among Conservative activists.

Shapps was formerly party chairman, but was demoted to international development minister after May. His formal statement is expected shortly.

The resignation follows lurid claims about bullying and blackmail among Tory activists. One, Mark Clarke, has been accused of putting pressure on a fellow activist who complained about his behaviour to withdraw the allegation. The complainant, Elliot Johnson, later killed himself.

The junior Treasury minister Robert Halfon also revealed that he had an affair with a young activist after being warned that Clarke planned to blackmail him over the relationship. Former Tory chair Sayeedi Warsi says that she was targeted by Clarke on Twitter, where he tried to portray her as an anti-semite. 

Shapps appointed Mark Clarke to run RoadTrip 2015, where young Tory activists toured key marginals on a bus before the general election. 

Today, the Guardian published an emotional interview with the parents of 21-year-old Elliot Johnson, the activist who killed himself, in which they called for Shapps to consider his position. Ray Johnson also spoke to BBC's Newsnight:


The Johnson family claimed that Shapps and co-chair Andrew Feldman had failed to act on complaints made against Clarke. Feldman says he did not hear of the bullying claims until August. 

Asked about the case at a conference in Malta, David Cameron pointedly refused to offer Shapps his full backing, saying a statement would be released. “I think it is important that on the tragic case that took place that the coroner’s inquiry is allowed to proceed properly," he added. “I feel deeply for his parents, It is an appalling loss to suffer and that is why it is so important there is a proper coroner’s inquiry. In terms of what the Conservative party should do, there should be and there is a proper inquiry that asks all the questions as people come forward. That will take place. It is a tragic loss of a talented young life and it is not something any parent should go through and I feel for them deeply.” 

Mark Clarke denies any wrongdoing.

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.