Labour leadership

Miliband pitted against Miliband (and Balls) in leadership battle

Ed Miliband may stand against his elder brother, David, in the Labour leadership election that will be sparked by Gordon Brown's sudden decision last night that he is to stand down this autumn.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, and Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, had been seen as the two front-runners to succeed Mr Brown. But friends of Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, made clear last night that he is considering whether to throw his hat into the ring.

Close allies said he wanted the Labour Party to have "the widest possible choice" to ensure it used the contest to have a wide-ranging debate on ideas. They said there was no need for him to make an early decision and that his focus was on the talks with the Liberal Democrats on a possible Lib-Lab coalition. He was involved in informal discussions with the Liberal Democrats over the weekend.

A "battle of the brothers" between the two sons of the late Marxist academic Ralph Miliband would add another twist to what already promises to be a fascinating contest. Supporters of David believe it is his "turn" and argue that Ed lacks the experience of a senior post such as the Foreign Office, saying his time will come.

However, Ed has grown in stature in his climate change brief and attracted growing support on the Labour back benches. His backers argue that David lost support by failing to strike against Mr Brown during the three failed coups against him before the general election. "He has missed his chance," one said.

Labour's new leader will be chosen by the time of the party's annual conference in Manchester in September. The electoral college gives a third of the votes each to Labour MPs, the trade unions and party members. As potential rivals eyed each other when the Cabinet met in Downing Street last night, Brown aides said they did not want candidates to declare immediately or to start campaigning while the country remained in limbo after last week's election resulted in a hung parliament. But such hopes looked forlorn as friends of some candidates spoke openly about their intention to run.

One government insider said: "The next leader will be called Ed or Miliband. No, let me correct that. He will be called Miliband or Miliband."

Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who is married to Mr Balls, might have entered the leadership race if he had lost his Morley and Outwood seat last week, but he survived and she will not stand against him. That will put pressure on Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, to run for the top job so that there is a female contender. But friends signalled that she was unlikely to stand, on the grounds that the torch should pass to a younger generation.

Mr Brown will not endorse any candidate. Nor will Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary and unofficial deputy Prime Minister.

A Labour spokesman said: "Gordon Brown has always felt the most important priorities for the country are securing the recovery and changing our politics for good. Gordon Brown's words today were the mark of a man who has always put his country first. The Labour Party's National Executive Committee will meet in the coming days to determine the procedures for a leadership election."

To be a candidate when there is a vacancy requires nomination of 12.5 per cent of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) – 33 MPs at present. There is a higher hurdle if a candidate wants to mount a challenge against the leader, when he or she requires nominations from 20 per cent of the PLP.

Candidates can be nominated by MPs, MEPs, affiliated organisations and constituency parties, and must confirm their willingness to stand two weeks before voting is triggered.

At the last contested election of a Labour leader, in 1994, some 700,000 people were entitled to cast a ballot, but their votes were not all worth the same. Because the electoral college is divided into three sections, the vote of an individual MP is worth more than that of a grassroots activist or union member.

The first section is made up of MPs and MEPs; the second of individual members of the Labour Party; and the third of members of affiliated organisations, including 15 trade unions, the Co-operative Party, the Fabian Society, Labour Students and other groups including ethnic minority, gay and disabled-supporter associations.

Trade union members who have opted out of paying a political levy are not entitled to vote on the leadership. Union leaders no longer cast a block vote for their unions but union members vote on a "one member, one vote" basis.

Voting takes place under the alternative vote system, in which candidates are numbered in order of preference. If one candidate receives more than half of first preferences, after ballots have been weighted in accordance with the electoral college system, he or she becomes leader.

If no candidate crosses this threshold, the individual with the fewest first preferences is eliminated and his or her second preferences are redistributed among the others. The process of elimination and redistribution continues until one of the hopefuls has secured more than 50 per cent support.

How will the Labour leadership election work?

As Gordon Brown has announced he is stepping down, there is no need for any formal challenge of leadership. Instead, prospective leadership candidates must secure the support of at least 12.5 per cent of the Labour Party's sitting MPs, which equates to 33 of the 258 seats Labour won on 6 May.

Those who are successful would then write to Labour's general secretary, currently Ray Collins, formally announcing their plans to run for the leadership. A special Labour Party conference will then be called to select a new leader by ballot before the autumn conference, currently scheduled for 26-30 September. The leadership contest will be decided by a straight majority in an "electoral college" system, in which the power is divided equally between Labour MPs, ordinary party members, and the membership of affiliated trade unions.

Each member of these groups gets one vote and ranks candidates in order of preference. The results of those who come top are calculated as a percentage of the total votes cast in that section of the college (i.e. expressed as a percentage of 33.3 per cent). The three sections' percentage results are then added together, and any candidate with a majority is declared the next leader. If no one achieves this in the first round, the candidate in last place is removed, and second preferences are redistributed until one candidate passes the 50 per cent mark.

Contendors for the Labour leadership

Alan Johnson, 59, Home Secretary

May decide not to run and has said he does not see himself as Prime Minister. But some allies say he would be the right man to head a coalition with the Liberal Democrats as he backs PR. Liked across party but missed chance to land deputy leader's post in 2007.

Appeal to the Lib Dems ****

Jon Cruddas, 48, Backbench MP for Dagenham and Rainham

Darling of grassroots who had strong showing in deputy leadership election in 2007, when he won most first-preference votes. Lacks ministerial experience but would enjoy support among unions and party members. Outward-looking and open to links with Liberal Democrats.

Appeal to the Lib Dems ***

David Miliband, 44, Foreign Secretary

Former Downing Street head of policy under Tony Blair. Will be seen as standard-bearer of Blairites but will position himself as slightly to the left of Blair to broaden appeal to his party. Keen on constitutional reform and therefore has his fans amongst the Liberal Democrats.

Appeal to the Lib Dems ****

Ed Miliband, 40, Energy and Climate Change Secretary

Younger brother of David and seen as to the left of him. Considering whether to stand against him or run his campaign. Being urged to run by admirers who believe he would appeal to a wider section of the Labour Party – and the voters. Liked by Liberal Democrats.

Appeal to the Lib Dems ****

Ed Balls, 43, Schools Secretary

Gordon Brown's closest political ally and former chief economic adviser at the Treasury. Would be seen as a Brownite candidate and to the left of his main rivals. Would enjoy strong support from trade unions. Wife Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, may have run if he had lost his Commons seat last week.

Appeal to the Lib Dems **

Harriet Harman, 59, Leader of the Commons

Support in the party shown when she defeated Alan Johnson for deputy leadership in 2007. Will face pressure to stand again to ensure Labour has option of choosing a woman, but she appeared to rule herself out last night, saying she wanted to stay on as deputy and as a result could not run for leader or back anyone else.

Appeal to the Lib Dems **

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Business Development Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor