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Ed Miliband battles brother to be Labour leader

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 15 May 2010

The former climate secretary Ed Miliband confirms he will stand to be next Labour leader in a battle that will pit him against brother David, as another potential rival Ed Balls tells Channel 4 News the contest will not be decided "in party meetings."

Ed Miliband (Credit: Reuters)

Mr Miliband announced his candidacy in a speech to party activists at the Fabian Society in central London at the end of what he described as a "depressing week for Labour".

"I've talked to my family and friends and I have decided to stand to be leader of the Labour party," he said to applause.

Mr Miliband announced his candidacy at the end of a wide-ranging speech where he set out his vision and acknowledged Gordon Brown's government had made mistakes.

Mr Miliband called for a "fraternal" contest for all candidates who put their names forward.

He said the party had "lost touch over Iraq", and said ministers had become "more like technocrats, less like transformers."

He said: "My message to the British people is, we will learn from our mistakes, we will be part of your values again, we will be part of your community again and we will work with you to build the kind of country we want to see.

For more Channel 4 News coverage of the Labour leadership battle
- Who Knows Who: Ed Miliband
- David Miliband launches Labour leader bid
- Labour leadership: how a contest works

Mr Miliband also said Labour had become too centralising.

"Too often we seemed casual about the question of the relationship between the state and individual freedom on issues such as ID cards.

"We didn't seem to get the idea that people could regard the state as too intrusive, too centralised and not sufficiently accountable." 

As he left the Fabian Society, Mr Miliband was cheered by his supporters with cries of "we love you Ed".

He told Channel 4 News that he hoped the leadership contest would provoke a "good debate".

"We need to reconnect to people throughout this country and I think that we can use this leadership campaign in order to do that."

On Wednesday, David Miliband told reporters: "The most important thing for both of us is that the family remains strong – and I'm absolutely confident that's going to happen, whatever my brother decides."

Balls on "pressure"
The former children's secretary Ed Balls told Channel 4 News that he would talk to party members tomorrow before announcing if he would also challenge for the Labour leadership.

However in an apparent swipe at both Miliband brothers, who have announced their candidacies while surrounded by Labour party members, he said the views of voters would also have to be listened to.

"It can't be simply us talking to each other in party meetings. I think we have got to get out into the country in public meetings and hear what voters say to us," he said.

"We need to understand why in too many constituencies they didn't come out and vote for us. We need to listen to their views and respond to that."

He also shrugged off claims from rivals that he had been briefed against political rivals.

"I have no time for bullying in politics, for off-the record briefings, for divisiveness, that is something I have not been involved in and never will be."

Mr Balls also said, if he were to stand, he had shown the mental toughness needed to work under the pressure of being party leader.

"God knows I have taken more pressure and abuse off Conservatives and Conservative papers in the last couple of years than anyone other than Gordon Brown."

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