Could flirty Chuka Umunna be worth a punt for Labour’s top job?

We might finally be warming to the man known as “the British Obama”

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The Independent Online

Mixed news from Manchester for two pretenders to Ed Miliband’s thorny crown. Poor Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Work and Pensions supremo, recorded a catchy cover of the Buggles’ “Radio Killed The Conference Star” in a disastrous LBC interview in which her valiant attempts at guessing the value of the state pension fell short.

Not since the then Treasury supremo Alan Johnson confused National Insurance with VAT has a shadow minister worn knowledge of their portfolio so lightly.

Chuka Umunna’s appearance on Radio 4’s Today was more successful. Since his traceless rise to shadow Business Secretary, it has been a struggle to warm to the man once identified as “the British Obama”. He has always sounded glib, self-entitled and depressingly robotic  in a vaguely neo-Blairite kinda way.

Interviewed by Sarah Montague, however, a flirty Chuka came across as almost normal, close to human, and even semi-droll, addressing the audience directly as “listeners” to give a running commentary on her sceptical expression while he elegantly dodged the questions.

Not that he, Rachel, Yvette, Tristran or anyone else is on leadership manoeuvres this week, of course. Their loyalty to the incumbent lies beyond question. But in the unhappy event of an unseating, this new, skittish Chuka may well be worth a few bob at 11-2.