Cruddas rules himself out of leadership contest

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Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham, ruled himself out of the Labour leadership contest yesterday, saying that he did "not possess" the personal qualities required for the job.

Mr Cruddas, who came third in the deputy leadership contest in 2007, indicated that he wanted to take up "a big role" alongside the next leader. But in an earnestly worded column in The Guardian today, he announced that would not be standing as a candidate against the Miliband brothers. "I do not feel that I am in a position to deliver on the hopes and expectations that will be placed in the next leader," he wrote. "To go into this must be on the basis of running to win and hand on heart I do not want to be leader of the Labour Party or subsequently Prime Minister. These require certain qualities I do not possess."

As the pool of leadership candidates continued to shrink, a source close to Mr Cruddas said he would not declare his support for any of the other candidates until he is in a position to judge them on "substance".

The announcement is likely to disappoint certain sections of the party. Mr Cruddas remains a popular figure with the unions and is widely seen as a standard-bearer for the grassroots and the Left of the party.

Last night David Miliband said the decision not to stand was a "genuine shame". "[Mr Cruddas] has brought a lot to the party over the last few years," he said. "Issues like housing and welfare and immigration which the voters were saying we were slow to get in on."