The former energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband has confirmed in a speech this morning that he is to challenge his brother, former foreign secretary David Miliband for the leadership of the Labour Party.
Speaking at the Next Left conference organised by the Fabian Society, Ed Miliband said: “I have talked to my family and friends I have decided to stand to be leader of the Labour Party.”
“My message to the British people is, we will learn from our mistakes, we will be part of your values again, we will be part of your community again and we will work with you to build the kind of country we want to see.
“And my message to our party is this: we have to use this leadership campaign as a first step on the road back to power because that is where we should be as a political party.
“It involves facing up to uncomfortable truths.
“I think it should be a fraternal contest, and not just in terms of myself and David but all the
candidates at this election.”
He added that the party had “lost touch with the values that made us a progressive force in politics” and must “face up to the scale of defeat” in the general election and use the time in opposition to “renew”.
Joking about entering the contest against his own brother, Ed said: “I do want you to be the first to know the answer to this because I think I can say that I am confident that, on the basis of her position on the political spectrum and on the basis of the runners and riders, that her candidate for the Labour leadership will be Jon Cruddas.”
Asked earlier in the week about the prospect of the siblings fighting each other David Miliband said: “We have talked very frankly and openly to each other because we love each other as brothers.”
“Brotherly love will survive because brotherly love is more important than politics.”
The news first broke last night on Twitter when Labour member Mary Wimbury tweeted: “At Doncaster north labour party. Delighted that Ed Miliband has told party members he is going to stand for party leader.”
He told his local party: “I am telling you first that I am standing for the leadership. I’ve thought long and hard about it.
“My brother and I agree that the party needs the widest possible choice. The party has lost touch with our voters and we have lost our radical edge. We must reconnect and regain our sense of idealism.”
“This contest must also be about the party valuing our members more, rooting our party in our communities and turning our values into action.”
Ed Miliband has a good gay rights voting record, having voted in favour of the Equalities Act and against an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would have denied lesbian couples access to IVF. Having only been elected in 2005, he was not in Parliament for the votes on an equal age of consent, civil partnerships or gender recognition.
His brother David has a similarly strong LGBT voting record and has written on the struggle for LGBT rights abroad for PinkNews twice (here and here)
In our most recent political poll, David Miliband was the most popular choice of the LGBT community for leader with 31 per cent compared to 7 per cent for Ed Miliband although the poll included politicians that have since declared that they will not be standing.