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26 May 2010

David Miliband steams ahead in nominations race

Odds-on favourite takes the lead with 48 nominations.

By George Eaton

Help shape Britain's progressive future - The Labour Party_1274873626555

Labour has just updated the nominations counter on its website and, as expected, David Miliband has opened up a clear lead over his rivals. The former foreign secretary has now been nominated by 48 MPs, up from 37 yesterday. His brother, Ed, who led the race on Tuesday, remains on 41 nominations. You’ll find a list of all the nominations here.

Both brothers are now coming under pressure to call on their supporters to nominate alternative candidates, in a bid to ensure someone who isn’t called Miliband makes it on to the ballot paper. It would be rather embarrassing for Labour to have a coronation followed by a leadership contest restricted to one family.

Ed Balls, who has already been forced to deny claims that he will struggle to achieve the required 33 nominations, has added just one supporter, taking him to a total of 15. Andy Burnham, who officially launched his campaign today, rises two to ten nominations. And John McDonnell and Diane Abbott continue to lag behind with no nominations.

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There are still 144 nominations to play for, so I’d be surprised if at least Balls or Burnham doesn’t make it on to the ballot. We’ll get the next update from Labour HQ at 5.30 this afternoon.

Incidentally, those adding up public declarations of support to nominations to form a “grand total” should remember that the former do not always translate into the latter. For instance, many of those members who pledged publicly to support David Davis in the 2005 Conservative leadership election ended up nominating an alternative candidate.

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