Harman takes over until next leader is chosen
Gordon Brown resigned immediately as Labour leader following the collapse of talks on creating a Lib-Lab coalition. Aides, however, denied that he was planning to stand down as an MP, just days after being re-elected as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.
Harriet Harman, the Leader of the Commons and Labour's deputy leader, is expected to take over as acting party leader until Mr Brown's successor is chosen.
After tendering his resignation as Prime Minister at Buckingham Palace last night, Mr Brown went to Labour headquarters to thank the staff who had worked on the party's campaign. They lined Victoria Street to welcome him and some were tearful.
Labour sources said a leadership contest would now be speeded up from the plans first announced by Mr Brown on Monday. Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) will meet next week to fix the timetable, and a new leader could be in place within two months.
The possible contenders include David Miliband, the outgoing Foreign Secretary; his brother Ed, the outgoing Energy and Climate Change Secretary; Ed Balls, the outgoing Schools Secretary; and Jon Cruddas, the prominent backbencher. Alan Johnson, the outgoing Home Secretary, is thought unlikely to stand. Ms Harman has said she will remain as deputy leader and has no plans for the top job. She is expected to become the second woman to head the party temporarily. In 1994, when John Smith died, Margaret Beckett, his deputy, took over as acting leader until the contest in which Tony Blair was elected.
Labour MPs called yesterday for the leadership election to be held as soon as possible. They warned that Labour would be "in limbo" and face a "leadership vacuum", which could put the party at a disadvantage if there is another general election this autumn.
A senior Labour MP, Barry Sheerman, said it would be "crazy" to delay the contest until the autumn, because the winner would have "no profile" with the voters in the run-up to a possible general election.
John Mann, another backbencher, said the NEC should ensure that a new leader is installed before Parliament begins its summer break in late July.
Mr Mann said the candidates in the leadership contest should be forced to take part in a televised debate.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympian sick again after photographs of Reeva Steenkamp's body are shown in court
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: US pushes search towards vast expanse of the Indian Ocean
Seth Rogen compiles list of all the celebrities he’s got high with
Oscar Pistorius trial: Photographs of Paralympian splattered in blood shown in court
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Focus shifts west as Indian Ocean becomes latest search area for the aircraft and its passengers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Tony Benn meets Ali G: Watch Labour veteran burn Sacha Baron Cohen
- 2 Women do experience two different types of orgasm, study reveals
- 3 Tony Benn dead: Veteran Labour politician passes away at 88
- 4 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 5 Gauthier Soho has ranted against 'food blaggers' - so can we really trust online reviews?
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...