BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 18:04 GMT, Tuesday, 11 May 2010 19:04 UK

Labour say Brown successor should be chosen quickly

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown has been Labour leader for three years

Labour have indicated they want Gordon Brown's successor as party leader to be chosen as soon as possible.

Mr Brown said on Monday that he would step down in September if a coalition deal with the Lib Dems could be agreed.

But with the Conservatives poised to agree a deal of their own with the Lib Dems to form a new government, his departure could be brought forward.

Mr Brown's successor could now be in place as early as July, party officials have suggested.

Mr Brown is expected to resign as prime minister if, as is thought increasingly likely, the Conservatives and Lib Dems reach an agreement on forming a government.

The BBC's Iain Watson said Labour's ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) indicated it wants Mr Brown's successor to be in place as swiftly as possible at a meeting on Tuesday.

The NEC is in charge of setting the timetable for the election, which is likely to take about eight weeks.

Candidates for the post, elected by a ballot of MPs, MEPs, party members and unions affiliated to the party, are likely to include current Cabinet ministers David Miliband, Alan Johnson and Ed Balls.

Ed Miliband, Andy Burnham and John Cruddas have also been tipped as possible candidates in what will be Labour's first contested leadership contest since 1994.

Mr Brown did not face a challenge when he became leader in 2007.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, who could temporarily succeed Mr Brown if he chooses to step down immediately, has ruled herself out.

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