David Miliband joins brother on Labour ballot paper

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Indy Politics

David Miliband today became the second contender in the race for the Labour leadership to secure the 33 nominations needed to get his name on the ballot paper.

The shadow foreign secretary joins his younger brother, Ed, as the only two candidates so far to reach the threshold to take part in the contest to succeed Gordon Brown.

Ed Miliband remains in the lead with 39 nominations from Labour MPs, against David's 36. Shadow children's secretary Ed Balls has seven and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham three, while left-wing backbenchers Diane Abbott and John McDonnell have yet to sign up a single backer.

Nominations formally opened yesterday, and would-be leaders have until June 9 to obtain the necessary backing.

Among those nominating David Miliband are shadow home secretary Alan Johnson - once thought himself to be a prime contender for the leadership - shadow business secretary Pat McFadden, shadow international development secretary Douglas Alexander and shadow Scotland secretary Jim Murphy.

He also enjoys the backing of senior backbencher and House of Commons Commission member Sir Stuart Bell, former ministers Jim Fitzpatrick, Ivan Lewis, Meg Munn, Gareth Thomas and Nick Raynsford and veteran left-winger Paul Flynn.

Shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband has secured the nominations of shadow environment secretary Hilary Benn, shadow communities secretary John Denham, shadow Wales secretary Peter Hain and shadow transport secretary Sadiq Khan.

His backers also include former Cabinet ministers Stephen Timms, Paul Murphy and Frank Dobson, as well as a prominent member of the 2010 generation of new MPs, Streatham's Chuka Umunna.

Mr Balls's nominators include Ian Austin, who worked closely with him under Mr Brown at the Treasury as part of the then Chancellor's inner circle, alongside former ministers Vernon Coaker, Kevin Brennan and Chris Leslie.

Nominations for Mr Burnham come from former sport minister Gerry Sutcliffe and fellow North-West MPs Yvonne Fovargue and Paul Goggins.