Ed Miliband's replacement as Labour leader expected to be announced in mid-September

The party's National Executive Committee will make a decision on the timetable for electing a new leader today

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A new Labour leader is expected to be in place by mid-September, it emerged today as the party’s ruling national executive committee meets today to decide the timetable for election Ed Miliband’s successor.

So far only candidates have officially declared – Chuka Umunna and shadow, Liz Kendall, but they are expected to be joined by two more senior Labour politicians in shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper.

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt is also “considering” a leadership bid. The NEC is discussing three options for the timetable. The first and option would see a swift leadership race, culminating in the new leader being announced on 31 July.

The second possibility would see the new leader unveiled two weeks before the party’s autumn conference, allowing the party to rally around the new figurehead at the end of September at their annual party meeting in Brighton.

Their final option would see a long process, with the final leadership contest hustings held at September’s conference and a final verdict may not be announced until October or even later – a process that would mirror the 2005 Conservative party leadership contest that anointed David Cameron as leader on December 5.

This option was met with groans when it was presented to Labour MPs at a meeting on Monday.

Liz Kendall was the first to declare she was running for the Labour leadership

It is expected that the middle option would be the one decided upon by the National Executive Committee and it is expected the new leader would be decided on September 12.

Balloting is expected to open in mid-August, according to the Press Association, which would give the candidates three months to campaign for votes.

The new rules for electing a Labour leader will be effective for the first time, with each member given an equal voice in the new one member, one vote system.

Andy Burnham is the trade unions' favoured candidate

It weakens the role of trade unions, who were previously given a block vote and accounting for one-third of the electoral college that chooses the leader.

The unions still have an influence however, with Paul Kenny, leader of the GMB union, suggesting that more than 100,000 union members would sign up to get a say in the vote. This would add to the current 200,000 Labour party members.

A boost in trade union voters is thought to benefit the more left-leaning candidate, Mr Burnham.