David Miliband candidate to lead Britain's defeated Labour

12th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Former foreign secretary David Miliband announced Wednesday his candidacy to lead Britain's defeated Labour party, after the resignation of Gordon Brown.

Miliband said he will formally launch his leadership campaign, which has already attracted the support of veteran Labour minister Alan Johnson, next week in his constituency of South Shields in northeastern England.

"I will be a candidate in that election," the 44-year-old said, referring to the party leadership contest.

"I will be so with a deep sense of humility at the responsibility attached to that post but also great, great passion for the values and causes that brought me into the Labour party 27 years ago."

He said that since the centrist Liberal Democrats had joined forces with the Conservatives to form a coalition government, Labour had an "enormous responsibility" to represent the left-of-centre opinion in Britain.

Miliband praised Brown as a "towering figure" but said after 13 years in power, Labour needed to "rebuild itself as the reforming champion of social and economic change in this country" and required "deep renewal".

"We've achieved a great deal in government but this is a new era," he said.

"New dangers, new opportunities, new possibilities. No longer the party in government, we must be the movement of real change right throughout the country."

The bookmakers have Miliband as the favourite to win the leadership race but he said he wanted a "genuine, real contest with many candidates", after Brown took over from Tony Blair as Labour leader in 2007 without a contest.

No one else has declared but Miliband is likely to face a challenge from former schools secretary Ed Balls, a close ally of Brown.

© 2010 AFP

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