David Miliband favourite to lead Britain's Labour: poll

30th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Former foreign secretary David Miliband is favourite to become next leader of Britain's Labour party, according to a poll out Friday, which gave him a clear lead over his closest rival -- his brother.

David Miliband notched up 37 percent of first-preference votes compared to 29 percent for his brother Ed, an ex-energy and climate change secretary, in a YouGov poll of party members and trade unionists for The Sun newspaper.

The final results of the long-running leadership contest, triggered when Gordon Brown resigned after Labour lost a general election in May, are due on September 25, just before the centre-left party's annual conference.

Labour, which was in power from 1997 until the May election, has been in limbo since Brown quit and Prime Minister David Cameron took over as head of a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

David Miliband, 45, was seen as being close to Labour's former premier Tony Blair, while 40-year-old Ed Miliband was among Brown's inner circle.

But both brothers have vowed to move beyond the bitter rivalries of the Blair-Brown years during the contest, saying Labour needs a fresh start.

Ed Miliband got a major boost this week when he secured the backing of Britain's biggest trade union Unite and he also has support from more unions overall than his brother, according to Labour figures.

But David Miliband has wider backing from constituency parties.

The new leader will be elected by a combination of Labour lawmakers from the House of Commons and European Parliament, trade unions and other affiliated organisations and party members.

The other candidates are veteran left-winger Diane Abbott, who got 12 percent support in the poll; youthful former health secretary Andy Burnham, who was also on 12 percent and pugnacious ex-education secretary Ed Balls on 11 percent.

YouGov questioned nearly 2,300 Labour party members and trade unionists between July 27 and 29.

© 2010 AFP

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