Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
10 September 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:14am

David Miliband boosted by Dennis Skinner’s endorsement

Team DM has broadened its base

By James Macintyre

David Miliband’s campaign team has been looking round for some time for an endorsement that would broaden the look of its base, as part of the attempt necessarily to shed the “Blairite” image that threatens to harm their candidate.

Now it has found its man. Here is Dennis Skinner:

The big question is who are the Tories afraid of? Who is the best candidate to stand up against Cameron at the dispatch box? Who has the best chance to beat Cameron in an election? For me the best choice is David Miliband and that is why I will be supporting him as next Labour leader.

Two slight caveats: First, as I have said before, parties often bluff about who they fear most, though the claim that David Cameron fears David Miliband is hard to disbelieve. Secondly, Skinner is seen as a hard left champion, but is actually a tribal figure with a wise head in the Alastair Campbell mould, one who broadly backs the leadership. I was struck, for example, to see him among the party hierarchy — Campbell, Peter Mandelson et al — sadly saying goodbye to Gordon Brown at Labour HQ on the rainy night in May when the former PM finally stepped down.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Having said that, the Skinner endorsement is a real and symbolically significant boost for David Miliband in this close race.