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Wednesday 27th March 2013 | 12:31
He's not died, but you'd think he had given the hushed tones in which many have reported David Miliband's impending departure to the US.
Peter Mandelson last night displayed one of the classic first stages of grief: denial. He told Radio 4's World Tonight: "I don't think this is the end for David Miliband. I think if I can come back he can. You shd not rule him out." That sounded like a man yet to come to terms with his loss.
Still, many in Labour's rank and file are indeed in a state of mourning. And the stats from the 2010 leadership election show why.
I've gone through the data once more (call me an anorak but I wanted to check) and they show this startling fact:
David Miliband came first in 90% of Constituency Labour Parties*.
Yes, you read that right, NINETY per cent.
Ed Miliband beat his brother (on 1st prefs) in just 10% of CLPs.
Of course, it was D Mili's failure to work the electoral college system, notably his failure to get more union votes, that did for him in the end.
And although EdM in the end won by a whisker, as everyone knows in politics, you only have to win by one vote. On some estimates, if David had glad-handed just four more MPs, he could have nosed over the winning line.
Much of the party rank and file has moved on from 2010 and, like the Parliamentary party, long ago came to an accommodation that Ed Miliband was their leader. The Labour leader's 2012 conference speech certainly put to bed any hope of a leadership challenge by anyone.
But I point out the above to underline just why the party in the country is probably in a state of mourning today.
*FOOTNOTE. DMili had most 1st prefs in 568 out of the 632 constituencies in England, Wales and Scotland (Northern Ireland has no CLPs). Ed Mili beat his brother in 64 of those 632 constituencies on first prefs. Ed Balls came first in his own seat of Morley & Outwood.
There are some fascinating areas in the 10% where EdM defied the odds and came first among party members. One of them was Mansfield (77 DM votes to 108 EdM votes).
Maybe that's why John Mann said today: "It's fascinating how MPs who quit Parliament always see politics about themselves rather than about...constituents."
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