Labour conference diary: Yvette's ironing-board secrets revealed

 

Board stiff

Don't tell Harriet Harman, but Yvette Cooper owes her star-of-conference status to an ironing board. Not because she pressed neat creases in Ed Balls's underpants, but because of the hours spent rehearsing her speech on a makeshift lectern. With a ring binder propped on the board, it was the perfect height to perfect her delivery. Maybe someone should pop to Argos for Ed Miliband?

Thrown the book

While Alistair Darling toured the conference bars and coffee shops, Gordon Brown was nowhere to be seen in Liverpool. Probably for the best, as the former chancellor's memoirs have plunged relations into the deep freeze. Veterans of the New Labour government recognised much of what Darling wrote, but were thankful of one thing. "I'm glad I wasn't the one who had to phone Gordon and read out the extracts," said one former Brown aide.

Labour studs

Another frontbencher who wowed the faithful was the defence spokesman Jim Murphy. He was lucky anyone could hear him. During the Hacks vs Labour football match he became fed up with a skilful member of the media team and stuck the boot in. Job done. Except hours later when he turned up to address the nation, the man holding the mike for the Beeb was the same, now limping, player. Ouch.

Francophone hacking

Chris Bryant, the fluent French speaker and Rhondda MP, was being interviewed by a Quebec broadcaster about phone hacking when he was asked if he had any regrets about taking on Murdoch – who owns the lion's share of Canadian media. Without missing a beat, Bryant channelled his inner Piaf: "Non, rien de rien. Je ne regrette rien."

Umunna moaner

With a reshuffle imminent, everyone was speculating about which of the 2010 newbies might be on the way up. But those being tipped to spend more time with their constituents had their claws out. One odious frontbencher whose days must be numbered really had it in for Chuka Umunna, the charismatic Streatham MP often likened to Barack Obama. The old stager had prepared a gag to dispel the idea that Umunna could recreate the success of the "Yes. We. Can." campaign in the US. "No. We. Can't," he chuntered. Ho Ho.

Heading south

Labour strategists admit they will never get back into power without winning big in the South. Except it seems no one is allowed to use the S-word. Where Labour used to talk about the North-South divide all the time, research has shown southerners resent the idea that life is all rosy, and people in the North dislike it being portrayed as a vast swath of industrial wasteland. Time for a rethink. Maybe we can all be north of Jersey.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral