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10 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

New Statesman Labour hustings: what the press has to say

What is the media verdict on who won the first Labour leadership debate?

By Samira Shackle

Channel 4 blog

Alice Tarleton notes the emerging points of difference between Ed and David Miliband, notably over the Iraq war:

David Miliband stood firm against his brother this evening at the first hustings event since nominations closed.

“If I thought that Ed would be a better leader of the opposition or prime minister, I’d be running his campaign,” he told the audience, made up mostly of Labour supporters.

She also notes that Diane Abbott received the biggest cheer of the evening when she attacked the other candidates on immigration.

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Sky News Blog

Jon Craig asks whether David Miliband has scored an own goal by encouraging his supporters to get Abbott on the ballot paper after she branded him a “technocrat”.

Diane played to the left-wing audience superbly and roughed up her opponents from the Labour establishment with skill and flair.

How the audience loved it. They cheered her opposition to Trident and her slapping down of politicians who want to talk about immigration.

Craig warns that Abbott could continue “to damage him in debates like this and in doing so boosts his brother’s leadership prospects”.


The Guardian editorial says after years of control-freakery, the party’s top command has shown itself to be worth watching.

It suggests that the biggest impact of Abbott’s late entry will be on the younger Miliband.

The sudden entry from stage left had a more marked effect on the pitch of his younger brother, Ed, who last night sharpened up his previously hazy claim to be a smidgen more radical.

Tom Clark has a fuller analysis of a debate that “was both genuine and good natured, a stark contrast to so many in Labour’s recent history”.


PoliticsHome concludes that Abbott was “by far the most watchable [and] the most warm”. It also thinks that “in the dynamic of the brothers Miliband, Ed is the aggressor, seeking to undermine”. David Miliband is still speaking like a foreign secretary, while Andy Burnham struggled to be heard.

Labour Uncut

Labour Uncut has done a “laughometer” of the event — who raised the most laughs?


The debate featured heavily on the BBC Ten O’Clock News — you can catch it on iPlayer here, around the ten-minute mark.

It was also on Channel 4 (second video down, here).

There is another clip of the debate on Newsnight, around 17 minutes in.

ITV News at Ten also covered it. You can catch Libby Wiener’s package here.

Social media

The hashtag #NSLabourLeadership was trending second on Twitter last night.

Our instant poll yielded the following results:

Diane Abbott: 48 per cent

Ed Miliband: 20 per cent

David Miliband: 20 per cent

Ed Balls: 2 per cent

Andy Burnham: 2 per cent

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