Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 14:04 UK

David Miliband says New Labour era is over

David Miliband: "We will not refight the battles of the past; this is a new era"

David Miliband has said the era of New Labour is over and the party must look to the future if it is to recover.

Officially launching his bid for the Labour leadership, the ex-foreign secretary warned his party about "re-fighting the battles of the past".

Ed Miliband, David's younger brother, is the only other person to declare their candidacy so far.

But others, such as Ed Balls and Andy Burnham, are expected to enter the race in the next few days.

Labour sources have said a new leader could be in place by the end of July although some have urged the party to take its time to ensure the party has the fullest debate possible.

'Battle of ideas'

Speaking in his South Shields constituency, Mr Miliband said Labour was still the "home of progressive politics" in the UK but said that voters had seen the party as the "old order".

Although it should be "proud" of its record in government, Mr Miliband said Labour had not been "humble" enough about its mistakes or "clear" enough about its offer, particularly over issues like immigration, housing and political reform.

It must accept that it lost the election "badly".

"We have got to understand the depth and breadth of the defeat," he said.

The Blair-Brown era is over. New Labour is not new any more
David Miliband

"The Labour Party must reform, repair and rebuild in opposition and prepare to fight and win a general election in future," he said.

"We have to win the battle of ideas again. We have to earn the right to change the country again."

Labour needed to look to the future in terms of its policy and its organisation and draw a line under previous battles, he told party activists.

"The Blair-Brown era is over. New Labour is not new any more. New Labour did fantastic things for the country but what counts is next Labour."

Mr Miliband said Labour must play a "constructive" role in opposition but be "passionate and determined" to stand up for what it believed in and to hold the new government to account.

Out of the race

After consulting colleagues over the weekend, former Schools Secretary Ed Balls is expected to enter the race in the next few days while former Health Secretary Andy Burnham is also considering his options.

Jon Cruddas, who has trade union backing and turned down a job in Gordon Brown's government after coming third in Labour's deputy leadership contest, said he had received many e-mails and texts urging him to stand.

A string of senior Labour figures have ruled themselves out of the contest including Jack Straw, Alan Johnson, Peter Hain and Yvette Cooper.

Former Chancellor Alistair Darling did the same on Monday, saying he "should be back on the back benches by the time" the name of the next leader is known.

Both the Milibands have called for the widest range of candidates to enter the contest as possible so the party can have the fullest debate about its future direction. Gordon Brown was elected without a challenge in 2007.

The new leader is chosen by an electoral college where the votes of MPs and MEPs count for a third of the total, the votes of Labour Party members count for another third, and votes of trade unions and other affiliate organisations' members count for a third.

Deputy leader Harriet Harman has taken over as acting leader after Gordon Brown's resignation last week.



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