Will Rachel Reeves succeed Miliband as Labour leader?

Rachel Reeves may succeed Ed Miliband

Former Labour Party official and political campaign manager Dan Hodges has tipped Rachel Reeves to be the next Leader of the Labour party. Hodges says that Reeves, Labour’s welfare spokesman, has stopped being ‘boring’ and has come out fighting.

When Reeves was mocked on Twitter by Newsnight editor Ian Katz, for being too right-on, she confessed to feeling ‘humilated’.

But Reeves isn’t playing it safe any more. On Tuesday, she took a bold step out of her party’s usual anodyne position.

“To make sure that the system is fair and seen to be fair, we must clamp down on the scandal of child benefit being sent abroad,” she said. “It’s not right that people are able to claim child benefits for children who don’t live in this country. The Government should be negotiating now to bear down on this abuse of our system.”

As Dan Hodges observes in his Telegraph op-ed this is not language Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet members normally use “The social security system was created so that you paid in when in work and drew on support if you were out of work, ill or old,” she said, expanding on her theme. Labour would “go further to make sure our system is based on what you have paid in over time, meaning that those who have lived and worked here for years get more than those who have only recently joined the workforce”.

Hodges concludes, ‘As Diane Abbott confirmed earlier in the week, most Labour MPs still believe their party is on course for defeat in nine months’ time. That defeat will swiftly be followed by a new leadership contest. The perceived wisdom had been that the contest would be between Chuka Umunna (business spokesman and the marginal favourite), Andy Burnham (health spokesman and candidate of the Left), and Yvette Cooper (home affairs spokesman and the first serious female leadership candidate in Labour’s history). But slowly – almost imperceptibly – Reeves has moved ahead of Cooper.’

The bottom line, Hodges thinks, is that ‘the most significant factor in the Cooper/Reeves power inversion is the growing awareness that if Labour does lose next year, it will finally have to make a bold and decisive break with the past.’ That break means looking for a clean pair of hands.

Read more of Dan Hodges analysis here

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