Ed Miliband Formally Enters U.K. Labour Leader Race

Former U.K. Energy Secretary Ed Miliband entered the contest to become leader of the opposition Labour Party, pitting him against his older brother David, the only other candidate so far to have declared.

“I have decided to stand to be leader of the Labour party.” Ed Miliband said during a televised speech in central London. “I think it should be a fraternal contest, and not just in terms of myself and David but all the candidates at this election.”

The Miliband brothers both served in the cabinet of Gordon Brown, who resigned as prime minister on May 11, ending 13 years in Labour power. Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, 44, declared his candidacy a day later.

Ed, four years younger than his brother, worked as a researcher and speechwriter for Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman before serving in Brown’s office while the party was in opposition in 1994. When Labour took power in 1997, he became an adviser to Brown at the Treasury until 2002 when he went to Harvard University to lecture on economics. Miliband was elected to parliament in 2005 and appointed Energy Secretary in 2008.

“My message to the British people is, we will learn from our mistakes,” Ed Miliband said. “ And my message to our party is this: we have to use this leadership campaign as a first step on the road back to power because that is where we should be as a political party.”

Common Touch

David, nicknamed “Brains” by Tony Blair when he served in the former prime minister’s policy unit, became a lawmaker for the northeastern district of South Shields in 2001. He entered the Cabinet four years later, serving as environment secretary before moving to the Foreign Office.

“David is seen as more cerebral, more reflective and a little remote,” said Bill Jones, professor of politics at Liverpool Hope University. “Ed wears his cleverness more lightly, is a better communicator and has more of a common touch.”

The son of Ralph Miliband, a Marxist intellectual whose books include “The State in Capitalist Society,” Ed Miliband has degrees from both Oxford University and the London School of Economics. In Parliament he represents the district of Doncaster North in northern England.

Political Labels

“David is seen as a Blairite toward the right of the party. Ed, as someone who was very close to Gordon Brown, is seen as more of the left of the party, although I’m not sure how long these labels will last,” said Jones.

Former Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper has ruled herself out of the race to be Labour leader, while her husband, Ed Balls, the former schools secretary, has not declared his intentions. Other candidates may include Labour lawmaker Jon Cruddas.

Harman, Labour’s caretaker leader, former Home Secretary Alan Johnson and former Justice Secretary Jack Straw have also said they won’t seek the leadership.

The Labour Party’s National Executive Committee will meet on May 18 to set the timetable for the leadership contest.

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