Ed M not the natural choice of shadow cabinet candidates

Analysis of the shadow cabinet candidates' Labour leader preferences reveals that Ed Miliband cannot rely on automatic support for his leadership. Of the 49 MPs standing for the shadow cabinet, 14 did not put down any preference for the Labour leader.

Analysis of the shadow cabinet candidates’ Labour leader preferences reveals that Ed Miliband cannot rely on automatic support for his leadership. Of the 49 MPs standing for the shadow cabinet, 14 did not put down any preference for the Labour leader.

David Miliband’s slight victory in the PLP (53% to 47%) is significantly magnified among shadow cabinet candidates. He gained 25 of their first preferences, compared to 12 for Ed Miliband, 9 for Ed Balls, 2 for Andy Burnham and 1 for Diane Abbott. The 14 candidates who didn’t express a preference for the new leader include Ben Bradshaw, Caroline Flint, Tom Harris, and Jim Murphy.

The older Miliband was also the choice of the New Labour establishment. Of the 14 ex-cabinet ministers competing for election, 7 picked Mili-D as first choice, with 4 (Hilary Benn, John Denham, Stephen Timms and Peter Hain) plumping for Mili-E.

Unless Ed M’s backers have a clean sweep in the shadow cabinet election, he will not have been the first choice pick for the majority of the shadow cabinet. While his brother’s decision to move to the backbenches reduces the likelihood of factionalism emerging, Ed Balls retains a powerful base of support amongst the 49 candidates – 18 put Balls ahead of Ed M.

In total, though, Mili-E did achieve 36 votes of varying preference from his potential shadow cabinet. And he can take solace from the fact that the sole candidate for Chief Whip – Rosie Winterton – pledged her first preference to him.

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