Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Wednesday, 30 July 2008 16:33 UK

Miliband denies 'leadership' bid

David Miliband praises Gordon Brown as a leader

David Miliband has insisted he is not "campaigning" for the Labour leadership - despite writing about the party's future with no mention of Gordon Brown.

He said he was prompted to write his Guardian article because of the sense of "fatalism" in the party after its defeat in the Glasgow East by-election.

"Can Gordon lead us into the next election and win? Yes. I'm absolutely confident about that," he said.

He said his article was challenging David Cameron, rather than Mr Brown.

His Guardian piece dominated the questions at a press conference held with Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini.

In his article Mr Miliband, touted as a potential replacement if Mr Brown stepped down, urged Labour to find confidence to make its case afresh.

We have got a good leader who has got important values
David Miliband
Foreign Secretary

But asked directly if this suggested he was planning a leadership bid, Mr Miliband said: "No, I'm not campaigning for anything other than a successful Labour government.

"The truth is we had a very bad result in the Glasgow by-election. I was frustrated by the sense of fatalism that had imbued in parts of the media and the Labour party...

"Gordon will lead us forward and the rest of us have a contribution to make.

"It was an article whose second paragraph said the debate has to be about issues and argument and not about personalities. Now I might be wrong about this. You might insist that personality comes before issue and argument, I don't believe that ....

"Does Gordon Brown have those values and that vision? Yes."

Pressed to categorically rule out standing for the leadership, Mr Miliband said there was no point in doing that as he had done so before, in the lead up to Tony Blair stepping down, and no-one had believed him then.


He added: "We have got a leader. We have got a good leader who has got good values."

Nick Robinson
Why do I and most political observers refuse to take David Miliband's article at face value?
Nick Robinson
BBC political editor

His comments came after Welsh first minister Rhodri Morgan said anyone planning to challenge Mr Brown this autumn would be "committing suicide".

Ex-cabinet minister Peter Mandelson admitted Labour was "in some flux" and said it would be surprising if someone like Mr Miliband "didn't address the challenges the government is facing".

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman reiterated her case that she was not planning a leadership bid, saying: "When a woman says no, she means no."

And Home Secretary Jacqui Smith laughed off suggestions Labour could be about to replace Mr Brown with someone "young and hip".

"I don't think that's what we want at a time when people are worried about the economy," she said.

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