Blair and Mandelson support for David Miliband branded ‘double-edged sword’

Labour’s increasingly bitter leadership battle has taken a further step as Lord Mandelson hit out at Ed Miliband, branding him a ‘preacher’ whose Left-wing rhetoric will lead Labour down an ‘electoral cul-de-sac’.

Mandelson is backing David Miliband’s campaign, which is also supported by Blair and Alastair Campbell, who said Ed would ‘leave the centre ground open for the Tories’.

Visiting Professor in public relations at the University of Westminster Trevor Morris said: ‘Their first concern is for the support of that small body of people in the Labour Party, and Mandelson isn’t that popular with those. Miliband could have done without his interest, and you could say the same thing about Blair.

‘But both people are popular with the population at large. So it’s something of a double-edged sword.’

The view on Blair was echoed by the FT’s Westminster correspondent Jim Pickard, who blogged: ‘Blair is now such a divisive figure inside and outside Labour that his backing will not necessarily help David Miliband. After all, those who still admire and respect Blair are more likely to be Mili-D backers already.’

PR Week

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