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Labour conference blog: Miliband’s huge task

I’ve just spotted David and Ed Miliband talking together in Manchester  – both wearing indentikit purple ties and dark suits! Clearly the new uniform of ’not new’ Labour.

What will happen next? Will David take the Shadow Chancellor role?

Well Ed Miliband has a real job on his hands this week and not just to mend family ties.

Last night all the talk in the bars and fringe meetings here in Manchester was one of stunned acceptance of Ed as leader – as party members and MPs who voted for his brother digest the result.

I am told the Parliamentary Labour Party met last night and was told to ’get behind the new leader’

While Labour has a new leader  there is no mood of elation here. Perhaps the fact that this conference is taking place just four months from a bruising electoral defeat is the real answer to that.

The commercial visitors have abandoned the exhibition and you can get a drink at the bar without having to wait for hours – all tell tale signs Labour is out of power.

Today we are all looking for signs from David Miliband if he wants to run for Shadow Chancellor. If so he and his brother need to ’kiss and make’ up quickly on the question of the speed of deficit reduction – they had very different answers on that question in the leadership campaign.

Tomorrow Ed Miliband makes his all important keynote speech. He needs both to reach out to the country – not just the unions – and to lift the spirits of Labour delegates.

Sitting here in a virtually empty conference arena on a Monday morning – he has a huge task on his hands.

Iain Anderson is director and chief corporate counsel at Cicero Group

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