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Jon Cruddas rules himself out of leadership race

The question now is which candidate the influential backbencher will endorse.

Jon Cruddas has ruled himself out of the Labour leadership contest.

Writing in the Guardian, he said he was humbled by the support shown for his bid, but that he did not feel he was suited to the role. He said:

Hand on heart, I do not want to be leader of the Labour Party or subsequently prime minister. These require certain qualities I do not possess.

The role of leader is one of the greatest honours imaginable -- but it is not a bauble to aspire for. It is a duty to fulfil. I do not feel that I am in a position to deliver on the hopes and expectations that will be placed in the next leader.

Despite an initial close involvement in the New Labour project, Cruddas has long been an independent-minded politican, turning down ministerial job offers in 2008 to remain on the back benches.

The question now is which of the candidates Cruddas will endorse, as the influential backbench MP is likely to bring with him the support of many of the trade unions.

The first thing to note is that his withdrawal from the race appears to be good news for Ed Miliband. Cruddas is popular with the left wing of the party, and there was a risk that his candidacy would have split the constituency to which Ed appeals.

However, it has also been suggested that Cruddas may swing behind David Miliband in a so-called "dream ticket" that would appease those on the left of the party still suspicious of Miliband's Blairite credentials.

He is not expected to rush to make a decision.

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