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Europe

Who will replace Gordon Brown as Labour Party leader?

Text by Luke Browne

Latest update : 2010-05-14

As well as resigning as British prime minister, Gordon Brown has stepped down as Labour Party leader. FRANCE 24 looks at the Labour MPs that are lining up to replace him and the odds on them winning the top job.

Following Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s bombshell statement on Monday that he will resign as Labour leader to try to keep his party in power, a number of contenders are emerging to replace him.

With negotiations continuing between the three main political parties over how to break May 6’s election stalemate, it was agreed at a cabinet meeting on Monday evening that no leadership bids would be launched before Labour/Liberal Democratic coalition talks conclude.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband is the bookmakers’ favourite to lead the Labour Party, but he faces competition from several powerful candidates, including his own brother.

CONTENDERS FOR LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP

David Miliband

The elder son of a notable Marxist theorist, David Miliband is the current Foreign Secretary and odds-on favourite at 4/7* to replace Brown. Ambitious and highly intelligent (earning him the nickname “Brains” from former Labour PR man Alastair Campbell), he led former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s policy unit in Downing Street after the 1997 election, and was touted in the media as a possible challenger to Brown in 2008. Admired by top Lib Dems, Miliband may struggle to win over the unions and Labour Party grassroots.

 

Ed Balls

A key economic adviser to Brown since 1994 and a Member of Parliament since 2005, Ed Balls entered the Labour cabinet as Secretary for Children, Schools and Families when Brown became PM in June 2007. He served as chief economic adviser to the Treasury from 1999-2004, and will claim that he is the best man to tackle the financial crisis. Currently part of Labour’s negotiating team with the Lib Dems, the strong trade union backing he enjoys could work against him if he fails to shed his “class warrior” image: the odds on him taking the reins stand at 5/1.

 

Alan Johnson
 
Coming in at 7/1, the current Home Secretary is a man of the people with strong union support, having worked as a postman and full-time union official before entering the House of Commons in 1997. Previously the Health Secretary, he has held a number of portfolios throughout his ministerial career, and is probably a Lib Dem favourite for Labour leadership due to his long-term support for electoral reform.
 
 
Ed Miliband
 
Another former Brown adviser with sound economic experience and an affable manner, the younger Miliband brother authored Labour’s election manifesto and currently heads the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Widely recognised as having rescued floundering talks at last December’s Copenhagen climate summit, his green credentials endear him to many, though with the odds at 11-1, he is still the less likely of the two brothers to take the top job in the Labour Party.
 
 
Andy Burnham
 
A Labour Party member since the age of 14, Burnham was elected to parliament in 2001 and has lost little time in rising up the ranks since. He was Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Brown’s first cabinet, and was promoted to head up the Department of Culture, Media and Sport the following year. He is the current Health Secretary, and has sound experience across government, but perhaps lacks the clout of the other contenders as16-1 odds show.
 
 
Jon Cruddas
 
A backbencher, solid left-wing candidate and former deputy political secretary to Tony Blair, John Cruddas acted as the interface between the prime minister and the unions after the 1997 election, and was heavily involved in the introduction of the minimum wage two years later. Popular among the left of the party (the bookmakers put him at 20-1 to take over the party), he declined offers of cabinet positions under Brown - wanting to maintain his independence - and lost out to Harriet Harman in the 2007 deputy leadership battle.

*Betting odds from Ladbrookes at 4pm on May 12.

Date created : 2010-05-11

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