Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 19:57 UK

David Miliband second Labour contender to clear hurdle

David Miliband
David Miliband has won the support of several senior figures

David Miliband has become the second Labour leadership contender to secure enough nominations from MPs to be able to take part in the election.

The shadow foreign secretary has the confirmed backing of 37 MPs, according to official Labour figures, four more than are needed to get on the ballot.

His brother Ed Miliband has already garnered sufficient nominations.

The other candidates are former ministers Ed Balls and Andy Burnham and MPs Diane Abbott and John McDonnell.

The official nomination process - the first stage in a four-month election campaign - opened on Monday and will close on 9 June.

According to the Labour Party website, Ed Miliband leads the race for nominations with 41 confirmed backers, including former ministers Hilary Benn, John Denham and Peter Hain.

CONFIRMED LABOUR NOMINATIONS
Ed Miliband: 41
David Miliband: 37
Ed Balls: 14
Andy Burnham: 8
Diane Abbott: 0
John McDonnell: 0
Candidates require the support of 12.5% of Labour MPs - 33 - to take part in the election. MPs can nominate themselves

David Miliband's confirmed backers include shadow home secretary Alan Johnson and shadow business secretary Pat McFadden.

Shadow education secretary Ed Balls currently has 14 confirmed nominations while shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has eight.

Neither Ms Abbott nor Mr McDonnell, backbenchers on the left of the party, have any nominations so far.

Labour is updating the state of nominations on its website twice a day until 9 June.

However, the figures do not necessarily reflect the level of support behind each of the candidates as some have received private endorsements which have yet to be officially confirmed.

The new leader will be elected through a ballot of MPs, MEPs, party members and members of affiliated organisations such as trade unions, with the outcome being announced at the party conference in September.

The ballot will be Labour's first contested leadership election since Tony Blair was elected in 1994. Gordon Brown did not face a challenge in 2007.



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