Exclusive: Compass members endorse Ed Miliband

Miliband tops ballot of Compass members, with Diane Abbott in second place.

In the first indication of how Labour members might vote in the leadership contest, Compass members, in a secret ballot, have overwhelmingly endorsed Ed Miliband to be the next leader of the Labour Party. More of a surprise, perhaps, is that Diane Abbott, often disregarded as no more than a maverick, came second in the vote, further indication of how Labour and its members are turning left following the failures of New Labour in its terminal phase.

Earlier today, as my colleague George Eaton reported, David Miliband's campaign released details of a YouGov poll, commissioned by them, revealing that voters see David as the most credible alternative leader to David Cameron. But these people are not Labour members and David Miliband is a former foreign secretary and thus much better known than his rivals.

In the Compass poll, David Miliband, sometimes unfairly caricatured as a Blairite, finished third. Ed Balls finished last, in spite of his being widely praised for his expertise as an economist and for his attacks on the coalition's deficit reduction programme by, among others, Irwin Stelzer and David Blanchflower in the New Statesman magazine, and Martin Wolf in the Financial Times.

Neal Lawson, the chair of Compass, said: "This overwhelming result shows that amongst centre-left Party members and activists Ed Miliband is the clear choice for leader. It is time to break with the now electorally disastrous politics of New Labour so that first the head and body of the Party can be reunited and then Labour with the country."

It's possible wiith Dagenham MP Jon Cruddas, who is close to the Compass group, having endorsed, to the dismay of many, David Miliband that Ed Miliband may now emerge as the figure around whom the pluralist left of the party gathers.

Here is the result in full:

Ed Miliband 55%

Diane Abbott 19%

David Miliband 12%

Andy Burnham 4%

Ed Balls 3%

None of the above 7%

Jason Cowley is editor of the New Statesman. He has been the editor of Granta, a senior editor at the Observer and a staff writer at the Times.