Shamik Das

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unswerving loyalty, the assasin's smile and a firm embrace... Then Milliband shows his hand

Mill he, won't he? The Foreign Secretary throws down the gauntlet to his under-fire leader

DAVID MILLIBAND last night let out of the bag the worst-kept secret in politics, namely that he has his eyes firmly fixed on the impending vacancy at Number Ten.

In a move which ramped up the pressure on Gordon Brown on the eve of his do-or-die speech to the Labour conference, the Foreign Secretary likened himself to Michael Heseltine, who challenged Mrs Thatcher for the top job eighteen years ago.

Milliband's remarks to one of his aides - overheard by Newsnight snitches - is the clearest sign yet that the Prime Minister faces a near-impossible task to remain in his job, with the latest reports suggesting he's been given until Christmas to turn his fortunes around or face a Cabinet revolt.

Earlier, Milliband gave a wide-ranging speech in the conference hall, spelling out his vision for a fairer world, and outlining the role he sees Britain playing in the 21st century, throughout which he offered unstinting, over-the-top praise for his embattled boss, in a very public display of loyalty.

And with a little over twelve hours until he addresses Labour delegates and the world's media in Manchester, the man he hopes to succeed is assured of another sleepless night as he contemplates how to win over an increasingly sceptical public.

Watch the Prime Minister's keynote address live at 2:00
Watch David Milliband's speech from yesterday afternoon


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