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 David Miliband rallying call: Ed's a great leader

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PostSubject: David Miliband rallying call: Ed's a great leader   Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:04 pm

David Miliband has issued a rallying call to the Labour conference, saying the party now had a "great leader" in his younger brother Ed.

The shadow foreign secretary, long favourite for the top job, said "I'll be fine" before calling for party unity and getting a standing ovation.

He has yet to say whether he will serve in his brother's shadow cabinet.

Ed Miliband has said that his brother has a "huge amount" to give to the party and British politics.

David Miliband has said he is talking to colleagues about his future, and wanted to take his time to make sure he made the right decision - with no decision until after the conference.

Continue reading the main story
Labour Leadership ContestFull story: Monday at conference
Darling: We can't ignore deficit
Number crunching the vote
The Ed Miliband story
"I don't know if you noticed but I came here on Saturday planning a slightly different week. I am now thinking what I am going to do instead," he told reporters ahead of the speech.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said a friend of Mr Miliband told him he was considering not running for the shadow cabinet and could quit politics, although colleagues insist he has yet to make up his mind.

Asked about his brother's future on Monday, Ed Miliband said he would make his decision "in his own way and in his own time" but praised his "loyalty to me and the country".

"He has a huge amount to offer our politics," he added.

The two brothers met in private for nearly 10 minutes on Monday but it is understood they did not discuss David's future.

Nominations have opened for the 19 shadow cabinet posts, to be elected by a ballot of MPs, but it is unclear whether David Miliband will put himself forward by Wednesday's deadline.

Continue reading the main story
Iain Watson

Political correspondent, BBC News

He embraced his brother after declaring the fightback had begun. The cheering crowds in the conference hall - Labour do seem to love a noble defeat - are hoping that the fight will be taken to the coalition, and any recriminations following David Miliband's narrow defeat will cease.

While David declared Ed "special" and called for the party to "unify" he still wouldn't share his thoughts on whether he would stand for Labour's shadow cabinet and serve directly under his brother.

It wasn't just reporters but Ed Miliband's own supporters who were poring over his speech for clues. He talked about getting behind Ed, and said he was reconciled to defeat.

But he also delivered a warning that the class war had to end - and some of his supporters are suggesting David won't say whether he'll join the top team until he hears his brother's speech to the conference tomorrow, and is assured Ed is lurching from the left back to the centre.

He's also called for an end to 'soap operas' - not a pledge to cancel Eastenders if Labour are re-elected but a reference to the Blair/Brown era. He may yet feel that the best way to end a political melodrama is to leave the stage.

The Milibands' differing evenings
Labour views: What should David do next?
Ed Miliband will allocate posts to the successful candidates after the vote on 7 October and he has insisted that decisions about who will get what job must wait until then.

In a speech ahead of a session on foreign affairs, David Miliband told activists in Manchester that he had been "honoured and humbled" by the support he had received since narrowly losing the leadership election.

He urged the party to unify around his brother, saying he was "incredibly proud" of him.

"We have got a great new leader and we all have to get behind him," he told party supporters.

While he was proud of the campaign that he had fought, he said that no-one should enter such a high profile contest unless they were reconciled to the possibility of defeat.

Labour's task at the conference was to begin its "fightback", he added, and to show that it was focused on the country's future as well as its own.

There must be "no more cliques, no more factions and no more soap opera" within the party, he said, arguing that "unless we are united, we will lose".

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, who came fourth in the leadership contest, is among senior figures to have urged David Miliband to stay in frontline politics, saying "he hoped he stays as part of the team".

Former minister Vera Baird told BBC Radio Four's World at One that it would be "helpful" if David Miliband became shadow chancellor to ensure Labour continued to support the four-year plan for halving the deficit it endorsed at the election.

Union backing

But ex-Treasury minister Geoffrey Robinson said Ed Balls - who has argued for a slower approach to reducing borrowing - was the "outstanding candidate" for that crucial position and would be the best man to take the fight to the coalition on the economy.

Although David won a higher percentage of votes from Labour MPs, MEPs and party members, Ed Miliband's success with trade union members and affiliated societies pushed him into first place in the leadership contest.

He defeated his brother in the leadership race by just over 1% after second, third and fourth preference votes came into play.

Ed Balls was third, Andy Burnham fourth and Diane Abbott last in the ballot of MPs, members and trade unionists.

The party has revealed that nearly a tenth of the votes cast - more than 36,000 out of 375,000 - were spoiled.

Continue reading the main story
Round 1: David Miliband 37.78%, Ed Miliband 34.33% Diane Abbott eliminated
Round 2: David Miliband 38.89%, Ed Miliband 37.47%. Andy Burnham eliminated
Round 3: David Miliband 42.72%, Ed Miliband 41.26%, Ed Balls eliminated
Round 4: David Miliband 49.35%, Ed Miliband 50.65%. Ed Miliband wins.
Number crunch: The leader vote
A spokesman said many voters had failed to comply with "clear" instructions to tick a box confirming they were Labour supporters.

But Derek Simpson, joint general secretary of the Unite union, whose governing body recommended that members back Ed Miliband, said: "It's being portrayed as just getting the union votes. But, in fact, Ed got 175,000 votes to David's 147,000.

"It was individual union members. All the candidates attended hustings meetings, and there were many of them over the campaign."

Mr Simpson also told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the leaderships of some large unions, including Usdaw and Campaign, had supported David Miliband.

Ed Miliband has been portrayed as being to the left of his brother and been dubbed "Red Ed" by some newspapers. But he rejected the tag as "rubbish" in a BBC interview on Sunday and said his leadership would not see "a lurch to the left".

Meanwhile, in his final speech to conference as a frontbencher, outgoing shadow chancellor Alistair Darling said Ed Miliband was capable of winning back the support and trust of the British people.

Mr Darling defended his original deficit cutting plan, describing it as "measured and balanced" approach, and accusing the coalition of pursuing billions of additional spending cuts for ideological reasons.

Ed Miliband has described Mr Darling's plans as "broadly the right starting point", but said he wanted to look at how they could be improved
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