Third ex-minister bids to lead Britain's Labour party
Former schools minister Ed Balls joined the race to lead Britain's Labour party Wednesday, the third declared candidate bidding to take over following premier Gordon Brown's electoral defeat.
Balls, who worked closely with Brown for a decade before being elected to parliament in 2005, threw his hat into the ring alongside former foreign secretary David Miliband and his brother, ex-energy secretary Ed Miliband.
Left-winger John McDonnell is also expected to join the race to succeed Brown, who quit as prime minister and Labour leader last week after losing the May 6 elections and handing power to Conservative leader David Cameron.
"I'm going to be put my name in for the Labour party leadership. I think it's a really important election for our party but also for the country," Balls said, launching his campaign in Nottinghamshire in central England
Balls said he would be talking to the public to establish what went wrong for Labour, saying: "Let us hear what the voters have said to us in this election."
He added that he had been "friends and colleagues" with the Miliband brothers for a long time and insisted: "Whoever wins this, I will back them 110 percent, because the unity of the Labour party is vital."
Labour has been plunged back into opposition after 13 years in power, facing a possible five years fighting the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.
The leadership campaign will take several months, with ballots due in August and September in time for a new leader to take over at Labour's annual conference starting on September 25.
© 2010 AFP