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Saturday, 24 July 2010

Ed Balls MP considering quitting the Labour leadership race

The Telegraph is running a story that Ed Balls is considering quitting the Labour leadership race because Britain's biggest union, Unite has backed Ed Miliband MP.
A source at Unite, which has 950,000 members who are eligible to vote in the leadership election, said: "The discussion before the vote was very much whether it should be Ed Miliband or Ed Balls. Ed Miliband won so clearly because it was thought he was the candidate best placed to be able to defeat his brother."
Ed Balls had been hoping to win Unite's backing, especially given that his close ally is Charlie Whelan who is Unite's political director – but only secured four votes compared to Ed Miliband's twenty four.

The decision has left Ed Balls contemplating withdrawing from the fray and backing either Ed Miliband or his brother David, the former foreign secretary, who remains the bookies' favourite.

The fight now looks to be a straight two horse race between David Miliband and his brother Ed, after Ed Miliband secured the backing of three of the four largest unions, Unite, Unison and the GMB.
Each has well over 100 nominations from constituency parties – David with 151 and Ed with 140 – well ahead of the number obtained by the three other candidates, Mr Balls, Andy Burnham and Diane Abbott.
However, a senior Labour source said: "It's hard to see where Ed Balls's campaign goes from here. He faces some tough choices in the next few days."
Ladbrokes has cut their odds on Ed Miliband winning the leadership battle from 7/4 to 6/4 after yesterday's result amid a general sense of momentum building up behind the younger sibling. While David Miliband remains the favourite, his odds were lengthened from 4/7 to 4/6.
Ed Miliband last week won the key support of ex-leader Lord Kinnock as well as the backing of Baroness (Elizabeth) Smith, widow of the late John Smith, Lord Kinnock's successor as party leader.

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