London: Five candidates including former
foreign secretary David Miliband are in the race for Labour
party leadership, with left winger Diane Abbott securing her
place just before the deadline on Wednesday.
Diane Abbott secured enough nominations to fight the
leadership battle only after her rival Miliband gave her his
vote. An extraordinary, desperate effort to avoid an all-male
contest and show a more diverse side to the party saw the
former foreign secretary lend his support to Abbott.
David Miliband was among a string of former ministers who
supported Abbott, pushing up her support from 11 MPs to the
requisite 33 before the lunchtime deadline.
Fellow left-wing candidate John McDonnell paved the way
for Abbott to go through by pulling out of the race this
Others in the fray are David Miliband's brother and
former Environment Secretary Ed Miliband, former Schools
Secretary Ed Balls and former Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
Abbott is the only woman and the only black candidate in
Voting for the new leader begins on August 16 and the
result will be announced on September 25.
David Miliband remains the frontrunner, with 81
nominations, with his younger brother Ed in second on 63.
Abbott, Balls and Burnham all ended up with exactly 33
Electing a new Labour leader is a highly complex process.
Three groups each - MPs and MEPs, unions and other affiliated
groups and party members - all have a third of the vote.
A postal ballot will happen over the summer, with anyone
who is a member of the party before September 8 entitled to
Voters rank candidates in order of preference on ballot
papers with a 'transferable eliminating' system where votes
are redistributed until one has 50 per cent support.
The result will be announced on September 25 at a special
conference ahead of the party's annual autumn gathering.
Labour suffered one of its worst defeat in May 6
elections after been in power for 13 years. This is the first
leadership contest for Labour since 1994 when Tony Blair
became leader following the death of John Smith.
First Published: Wednesday, June 09, 2010, 23:32