By Ray Fleming

IT has been reported that the mother of David and Ed Miliband is so upset at their increasingly tense contest for the leadership of the Labour Party that she has determined to vote for Diane Abbott. It is also being said that their father Ralph, a distinguished academic who died in 1994, would have thought them both rather soft on the kind of socialism he espoused throughout his life.

David and Ed lead the other other three contenders by a considerable margin if the bookmakers are to be believed but are themselves well separated with David a strong favourite to win. The campaign is moving into its final week and the ballot papers are now being distributed to Labour Party members and affiliated trade unions. It is hardly surprising therefore that the tone of the debate between the two brothers has sharpened and that in Ed's view the agreement to avoid personal remarks has not held. On Tuesday Ed contributed an article to The Guardian and on Wednesday David responded with a piece in The Times. Essentially Ed argued that Labour should re-engage with its core supporters and try to win support also from disenchanted Liberal Democrats. David countered this directly, saying that Labour must develop a centre-ground appeal and again win votes from the professions and middle class. The result will be announced at the Labour Party Conference on 25 September -- unless it leaks first!

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