Benn to stand for deputy leadership

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Indy Politics

Hilary Benn has officially entered the race to succeed John Prescott as deputy leader of the Labour Party. He announced his decision at a meeting of his Leeds Central constituency party.

One of the first party members to pledge support for him was his father, Tony Benn, who led the left wing of the Labour Party a generation ago.

However, Hilary Benn is not expected to project himself as a "left" candidate for the deputy's post. His campaign will be run by the former party chairman, Ian McCartney, an old friend and ally of John Prescott.

In a letter to the constituency party Mr Benn wrote that as deputy leader he would ensure "that the voice of the members and affiliated unions is heard in government", and would "fight for social justice and peace in the world".

He is likely to be competing with the Education Secretary Alan Johnson for the "loyalist" vote from those who want the Labour Party to stick to the formula that has won them three general elections.

Two other candidates, Peter Hain and Harriet Harman, are known to be critical of some aspects of the present Government. But many of the votes from the Labour left could go to the former Downing Street political adviser, Jon Cruddas.