Yvette Cooper set to announce bid for Labour leadership

The shadow Home Secretary will join the running to succeed Ed Miliband

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Indy Politics

Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, will announce on Thursday that she will enter the race to succeed Ed Miliband as Labour leader following the party’s crushing election defeat.

Friends say there were occasions in recent years when Ms Cooper doubted she would seek the leadership if a vacancy emerged this year,  but that she had now decided to run.

Her husband, Ed Balls, the former shadow Chancellor, stood for the post in 2010 but cannot be a candidate this time after suffering a surprise defeat in last week’s election. Ms Cooper is expected to draw support from across the party’s MPs, members and trade unions. It is likely that some former allies of Gordon Brown, including union activists, will rally behind her.

Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary, is also expected to win support from union members following his campaign against what he calls the Tories’ drive to “privatise” the NHS. He is likely to enter the contest later this week.

Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) will fix the timetable for the election. To allow a longer debate about the party’s direction, the NEC looks set to drop the party’s original plan for a short contest ending in late July or early August. It will choose between a vote two weeks before Labour’s annual conference or turning the Brighton conference into a “beauty contest”, with the vote taking place after the event.

Chuka Umunna, the shadow Business Secretary, has confirmed he will be a candidate, while Liz Kendall, the shadow Care minister, announced she would run on Sunday. Tristram Hunt, the shadow Education Secretary, is also considering standing.