David Miliband has won the support of more of Labour's new generation of MPs than his younger brother, Ed.
Allies of the shadow Foreign Secretary trumpeted his lead as they sought to fight his brother's claims that he has the momentum in Labour's leadership election. Of the 64 Labour MPs elected for the first time in May, 29 have now declared their support for David, and 25 for Ed.
In a statement, those backing David made a coded criticism of Ed, who has been accused of telling Labour members what they want to hear during the campaign. They said: "We think that David has best understood how we must regain the trust of those who have turned away from us. That not only must we re-energise our supporters and shape a new movement together, we must also reach out to the whole country and never be satisfied with simply talking to ourselves."
They added: "We want to give Labour the best chance possible of returning to government quickly rather than slipping back into being a party of perpetual opposition that is powerless to tackle injustice."
John Woodcock, one of the MPs, said that contrary to expectations, the long leadership election had worked in David Miliband's favour, even though he was the front-runner at the start.
Ed Miliband said yesterday: "I am increasingly confident that the momentum is with me in this campaign."
He told the BBC: "I am under no illusions about the scale of the task to take on Cameron, but I have absolute faith that I am the best person to do so, because I think I have the strength that comes from my values."