Labour’s chief whip, Nick Brown, has resigned at the request of new leader Ed Miliband.

Mr Brown, who was one of three gay cabinet ministers before Labour lost the election, withdrew from the race today to keep his job.

Labour MPs are voting for the 19 posts in the new shadow cabinet and nominations will close today.

In a letter to Mr Miliband, Mr Brown wrote: “As you know I intended to stand for election as chief whip.

“During our meeting earlier today you indicated that you wished me not to do so. The chief whip must have the full confidence of the party leader.

“I fully respect your wishes and will no longer be standing for the position.”

In response, Mr Miliband wrote: “As we discussed, the election of a new leader is a time for a fresh start and that’s why I am grateful to you for agreeing to step aside as Chief Whip.

“I’d like to put on record my respect and appreciation for your hard work, political judgment and commitment.”

Mr Miliband’s preferred candidate for the chief whip is said to be former transport minister Rosie Winterton.

Mr Brown was chief whip at the start of Labour’s time in power and returned to the position in 2008.