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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 03:03 GMT 04:03 UK
Brown targets mothers in campaign
Chancellor Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown looks unlikely to face a leadership contest
Chancellor Gordon Brown is continuing his Labour leadership campaign with a promise of more financial help for mothers of young children.

Mr Brown will pledge more money and increased nursing support for mothers of children up to the age of two.

He is also expected to say he will extend the right to flexible working to mothers of older children.

Left-winger John McDonnell still needs the support of 18 more MPs if he is to challenge Mr Brown for the leadership.

Supporters

So far, 27 MPs have nominated Mr McDonnell, compared with 282 for the chancellor.

Among Mr McDonnell's supporters are backbenchers Diane Abbott, Jeremy Corbyn, Dennis Skinner, Ian Gibson, Ann Cryer, Mike Wood and former rival for the leadership nomination Michael Meacher.

Mr McDonnell is the chancellor's only potential challenger after fellow left-winger Mr Meacher dropped out on Monday, in the hope they could pool their support.

I'm going out to get as many nominations as possible because I believe that is what someone who's putting their name forward for leadership should do
Gordon Brown

Outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair has nominated Mr Brown, who will be on the campaign trail in Manchester and north London on Wednesday, as have Home Secretary John Reid and Pensions Secretary John Hutton.

But former Blairite Cabinet ministers Charles Clarke, Alan Milburn and Stephen Byers, who have all said they will support the chancellor in a demonstration of unity, have yet to nominate him.

Some 43 of Labour's 352 MPs have still to nominate.

There will now be 10 official hustings events before the results are announced at a special one-day leadership conference in Manchester on Sunday 24 June - three days before Mr Blair steps down as prime minister.

On Tuesday Mr Brown told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "I'm going out to get as many nominations as possible because I believe that is what someone who's putting their name forward for leadership should do."

Deputy battle

In the deputy leadership contest, Hilary Benn has yet to gain the 45 nominations needed.

Jon Cruddas, Alan Johnson, Harriet Harman, Peter Hain and Hazel Blears have all got through. Nominations are due to close at 1230 BST on Thursday.

Deputy leadership candidates also need the support of 45 MPs to progress.






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