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8 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

A report from inside last night’s Labour leadership hustings

Candidates offer different visions to MPs.

By James Macintyre

The unmissable Labour Uncut website, run by Siôn Simon, has an interesting insider report from last night’s Parliamentary Labour Party leadership hustings that goes further than the various quotes and tweets that followed it.

A few bits stand out:

What would you bring to being PM?

David Miliband: Know what has to be achieved. Discipline, promise and definition.

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Diane Abbott: We have to get the policy right and communicate it better.

Ed Balls: I will bring judgement and courage, strength, and resilience to the heat from the Tory press. I talk a language people understand.

Andy Burnham: Unify people. Good judgement important when instincts take over. Ability to inspire people.

Ed Miliband: Values. We went wrong when we spoke the language of technocrats. Empathy.

John McDonnell: Shared life experience. Need for a new form of political activism which is not driven from the centre.

Some will note Ed Miliband’s answer, in particular.

Asked about immigration, David Miliband offered the boldest and most positive answer:

David Miliband: Use right tone. We got it wrong on fairness in housing allocation and supply. If you want a leader who wants a Dutch auction on immigration or Europe, don’t vote for me. Britain is better because of immigration.

That reminds me of when Tony Blair said of William Hague: “Asylum: we’ve got a problem. But ask me to exploit it in terms of race then vote for the other man — I will not do it.”

Asked what were the toughest and the most unpopular political decisions they’d had to make, Ed Miliband confirmed that standing against his brother was the “toughest” decision he had made.

John McDonnell: Voting against the government because of my principled positions.

Diane Abbott: Sending my son to the City of London School. I put the child first.

David Miliband: Actually, sometimes the toughest thing was voting for the government [got a big laugh]. And the Iraq war. I’ve read the Blix report and I’d make same decision now as then.

Ed Balls: The toughest was waiting the two weeks for the independent report into Haringey children’s services while David Cameron talked about Baby P. The most unpopular were the decisions on the systematic abuse of admissions to faith schools.

Andy Burnham: The toughest was Iraq and most unpopular was the privatisation of NHS logistics.

Ed Miliband: Toughest was standing against brother, but I wanted the widest choice. Most unpopular was defending our decisions on nuclear power. Lots of people said we were wrong. Also, defending the third runway at Heathrow because of collective responsibility. Winding up the debate defending the third runway, which I didn’t support.

Details of tomorrow night’s hustings, hosted by the NS, can be found here.

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