Ed Miliband's big moment

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 6 July 2011 in News
After a landslide result in the PLP election to abolish Labour's shadow cabinet elections, the phone hacking scandal represents a crucial opportunity for Ed Miliband to rebuild momentum in his leadership

At a quieter time, the news that 196 (83%) of Labour MPs voted last night to abolish shadow cabinet elections would have been big news inside the Westminster bubble, accompanied by cries of "Ed finally gets some backbone" from the Labour leader's supporters and critics alike.

Ed's statement on the "excellent result" said:

"We have an important job to do in holding the government to account and preparing for the next election. To do that job properly we need to spend our time talking to the public and not ourselves. Labour under my leadership will be a party that looks outwards and not inwards."

"Looking outwards not inwards" is what Ed's critics have been calling on him to start doing for months now. His team will be hoping that this will mark the start of an upturn in his approval ratings.

However, this isn't a quiet time. The latest twists and turns in the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the revelations about Milly Dowler mean that, quite rightly, no one really cares about the internal politics of the Labour party. The news of the shadow cabinet vote will disappear with barely a trace, failing to put down the strong marker of leadership Ed's team will have intended it to be.

Ed's disastrous interview on the public sector strikes last week was a viral horror show, and won't have done him any good. But today, at PMQs, he has the chance to redeem himself and exhibit his newly-formed backbone for all to see.

If he can achieve the near impossible - manage to make political capital out of the phone hacking scandal without seeming to be scoring political points on a issue this serious - this could be the major turning point he's looking for.

Wimbledon is over, but I wouldn't be surprised if we hear impassioned cries of "Come on, Ed" from the Labour backbenches today.

Read Tom Harris MP's take on why electing the shadow cabinet was always pointless here

Tags: Ed Miliband, News of the World, Phone hacking, Shadow Cabinet

Share this page

Add new comment

More from Total Politics