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UK's Labour Party elects Ed Miliband As Its New Leader

London:  Britain's Opposition Labour Party has said that Ed Miliband has been elected as its new leader. Forty-year-old former climate change secretary Ed is the younger brother of 45-year-old former British foreign secretary David Miliband.It
PTI September 25, 2010 23:08 IST
PTI
London:  Britain's Opposition Labour Party has said that Ed Miliband has been elected as its new leader. Forty-year-old former climate change secretary Ed is the younger brother of 45-year-old former British foreign secretary David Miliband.It was a closely fought battle between the brothers to replace ex-prime minister Gordon Brown who quit in the wake of a humbling election defeat.

Three other candidates have also competed in the contest to replace Brown, who stepped down in May after Labour trailed second in a national election and was removed from office after 13 years by the Conservative Party-led coalition government.

The siblings offer contrasting views on the future of their Centre-Left party: David Miliband advocates largely standing by the centrist policies of his mentor Tony Blair, while his brother has sketched out a Left-wing platform with proposals for a rise in Britain's minimum wage, higher taxes for top earners and a more punishing levy on banks.

Former education secretary Ed Balls, ex-health secretary Andy Burnham, and Diane Abbott - a veteran leftist who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq - were also in the race.

David Miliband favours a familiar pro-business agenda and has set out ideas on reforms for Britain's education system and on reducing low-level crime. His brother is accused of going too far in seeking the support of Leftist Labour unions by suggesting the use of tax hikes and fewer spending cuts to clear Britain's national debt -- a move that would safeguard jobs of Labour loyalists in the public sector.

But Prime Minister David Cameron had earlier said that both his potential rivals had failed to offer an alternative to his coalition's plans on the economy. "We have this biggest deficit in Britain's peacetime history and they seem to have no answer," Cameron was quoted as telling the Daily Telegraph in an interview.

"They're both part of the team that got us into this mess. In this long leadership debate I haven't heard a single suggestion about how we might deal with the deficit," he said.

Next month Treasury chief George Osborne will announce a five-year austerity plan aimed at saving 30 billion pounds ($44 billion) per year. The plan is the centerpiece of Cameron's program for government -- and likely to heavily influence the outcome of the next national election, due in 2015.

Labour's new leader will be expected to quickly offer an alternative strategy, and is likely to set out some details of policy ideas in a brief speech Saturday, and in a major address to the party's annual rally on Tuesday.AP