Five Lawmakers to Contest U.K. Labour Leadership Race

Five lawmakers will run for the leadership of the U.K. Labour Party after each winning 33 or more nominations from fellow members in the House of Commons.

Diane Abbott will join former Cabinet ministers Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and brothers David and Ed Miliband in the contest to replace Gordon Brown, the party said in an e-mailed statement today. Brown triggered the leadership vote when he resigned after Labour lost the May 6 election.

A sixth candidate, John McDonnell, pulled out this morning in order to help Abbott win enough nominations to run, he said in an e-mailed statement. The result of a ballot of party members will be announced on Sept. 25, the eve of Labour’s annual party conference.

“Over the next few months over 4 million people will have the chance to help shape Britain’s progressive future by choosing the next leader of the Labour Party,” acting party leader Harriet Harman said in the statement. “The contest will be open engaging and energizing.”

Harman nominated Abbott, as did David Miliband, who said he wanted an open contest and a wide debate before the ballot. Abbott, 56, became Britain’s first black woman lawmaker in 1987.

Nominations for the leadership race closed today. Under party rules, prospective candidates needed the backing of 12.5 percent of the Labour lawmakers in the Commons, the lower chamber of Parliament.

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