Ed Miliband first to get enough MP nominations


FORMER LABOUR minister Ed Miliband caused a surprise last night by becoming the first challenger to win the support of the necessary number of MPs to enter the leadership race.

Mr Miliband, who served as climate change secretary in the last Labour government, has 34 declared nominations – one more than needed under the rules. It is understood that a number of others have also declared their support.

Mr Miliband’s brother David, the former foreign secretary, declared first in the race and was expected to win the necessary nominations comfortably. Currently 19 MPs have declared for him.

Candidates Ed Balls and Andy Burnham have four and one nominations. London MP Diane Abbott, who caused a surprise last Friday by deciding to run, has so far not managed to secure a single declaration.

The Labour Party now intends to update its website twice daily with the latest information on nominations, although events so far cannot be taken as a guide as to how the election – due to held in September – will turn out.

For example, the name of former home secretary Alan Johnson, who has already come out in support of David Miliband, does not appear on the lists published last night by the party.

MPs will control one-third of the votes in an electoral college, with the remainder being decided by votes from trade union members who pay dues to Labour and Labour Party members.

Meanwhile, Conservative prime minister David Cameron has backed away from a fight with backbenchers, following opposition to his efforts to water down the powers of their influential 1922 committee.

Last week Mr Cameron took MPs by surprise when he said he wanted ministers to be able to attend and vote at 1922 meetings, which have caused some difficulty for previous Conservative prime ministers.

Following Mr Cameron’s retreat last night, the 1922 committee will remain as it is, although ministers will be able to attend, but not vote. The body’s new chairman is to be elected this week. MPs Graham Brady and Richard Ottaway have both declared their intention to run for the position, although Mr Brady, who is not favoured by Mr Cameron, may benefit from the attempt to curtail the committee’s influence.

The committee meets each week to discuss parliamentary business and take grievances to the Conservative leadership.