Leadership Election Timetable - and who I'm backing
Monday 24 May: Opening of PLP nominations.
Thursday 27 May: Close of PLP nominations.
Friday 28 May: Deadline of acceptance of nomination by nominated candidates. Supporting nominations open.
June/July: Hustings will take place.
Monday 26 July: Close of supporting nominations.
Monday 16 August to Wednesday 22 September: Balloting takes place.
Wednesday 8 September: Freeze date for new members to join.
Saturday 25 September: Announcement of ballot result.
This might come as a surprise to people, but I will be voting for Ed Miliband.
I think all the candidates have their merits and that it's rather a shame that Jon Cruddas is not running as this would have provoked a wider ideological and policy debate.
I haven't decided yet who I will rank in second place - I'm going to listen to the hustings and decided in due course.
Why Ed Miliband? Gut instinct that his personality and style will appeal to voters, particularly the C2 demographic (skilled working classes) where the bottom fell out of our vote. I feel that people will be able to identify with him and warm to him more than the other runners and in an age when we have elections dominated by TV debates that is vital. He is a brilliant communicator - the speech he gave at Labour's Birmingham Spring Conference in 2008 was one of the best I have ever seen. I don't think there's much to choose ideologically between the main candidates - there are nuances of difference of vision and no doubt micro-analysis could prove Ed M is marginally to the left of the others but this is more about ability to inspire and regenerate a bruised, battered and tired party, and to clearly signal a generational change in leadership.