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And we're off! Yvette Cooper's aides register domain name

The race to be Ed Miliband's successor has kicked off, albeit unofficially, with meetings between the key teams and recruitment already underway.

Yvette Cooper's aides have registered a domain name for her campaign, in the first clear sign from any of the runners and riders that they will seek to replace Ed Miliband as Labour leader.  Yvetteforleader.com has been registered in the name of Cooper's aide, Roger Baker. Cooper, who, I'm told, has already got a "substantial" sum of money raised and has been working the fundraising circuit hard, will start as a strong contender. 

In an early coup for the Shadow Home Secretary's campaign, Cooper appears to have secured the services of Caroline Badley, the legendary mastermind of Gisela Stuart's against-the-odds triumphs in Birmingham Edgbaston. Badley, who many believe should have been put in charge of the party's field operations instead of Patrick Heneghan, is listed as one of the contacts for the domain name. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

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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