Daily catch-up: Liz Kendall speaks to the Westminster press pack – kamikaze or courage?

Labour Party members will choose the candidate who scares the Conservatives most

Click to follow
The Independent Online

1. Liz Kendall passed another important test yesterday in her campaign to be Labour leader. She spoke at a House of Commons Press Gallery lunch and received favourable notices.

She said things the other candidates wouldn’t say, in favour of free schools, a commitment to spend 2 per cent of national income on defence and that Labour had “decided that the British public had shifted to the left because we wished it to be so”.

Like the other candidates, she repudiated Ed Miliband’s anti-business rhetoric, but she did it with conviction:

“On business, I want to change our whole approach, not just set up a new committee.

“I want Labour not just to ‘understand’ business but be the champion of people who take a risk, create something, build it up and make a success of it.”

It was significant that some people who might have been sympathetic to her feared that she had gone too far. Luke Akehurst ‏said:

“Unless I have totally misjudged the mood and composition of Labour leadership electorate, ramping free schools something of a kamikaze strategy.”

A leader, with courage? Whatever next? I pointed out that Labour members voted most strongly for David Miliband last time.

Alex Ross-Shaw replied: “‏One thing I’m wondering is if 20,000 new members (10 per cent of the whole) move us to the left or centre. Suspect left.”

I think this may have been true before 7 May, but is not true since (just 15 days ago). Labour Party members want to win.

One question they will ask is, Who are the Conservatives afraid of? Andy Burnham: not at all. Yvette Cooper: might be a bit awkward. Liz Kendall: “She mustn’t be the next leader.”

2. Only time for one more item today. This just in from Tom Freeman:

“Thank you and goodbye, Letterman. Since you were bitten by that radioactive letter, you've been fighting crime for us.

“And hello, Emailman!”