Labour leadership race: Former foreign secretary David Miliband pledges support to Liz Kendall while warning of the risks of electing Jeremy Corbyn

James Nickerson
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David Miliband lost out on the last Labour leadership race to his brother Ed (Source: Getty)

Former Labour frontbencher David Miliband has pledged his support to Liz Kendall in the Labour leadership contest.

Writing in the Guardian, Miliband said he has been “struck since the beginning of the campaign by the plain speaking, fresh thinking and political courage of Liz Kendall and the new generation of politicians – Chuka Umunna, Emma Reynolds, Tristram Hunt - who have declared support for her.”

The campaign for Kendall is informed by the results of the General Elections of 2010 and 2015, and the mistake it would be to “turn the Labour clock back” to the pre-Blair era.

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In the leadership race, Miliband also said the stakes could not be higher. He added:

Get it wrong, and Britain could become a multi-party democracy with only one party – the Conservative party – that can win parliamentary majorities. A one-governing-party state.

His comments come the day after Gordon Brown warned against voting for Corbyn, and follow the cautions of Tony Blair, Neil Kinnock and Alastair Campbell.

Despite this, Corbyn is still the most likely to win in the polls and is also the bookmakers’ favourite, having gained momentum since the start of his campaign, and the support of the UK’s two largest unions along the way.

Read more: Andy Burnham pledges to involve Jeremy Corbyn in "rebuilding" the party if he becomes Labour leader

However, Miliband says the “Corbyn programme looks backwards” with pledges of nationalisation and massive increases in national insurance. For this reason, voting for Corbyn could ensure Conservative success at General Elections for the foreseeable future, against a viable alternative in Liz Kendall.

The leadership election, Miliband therefore concludes, is not a choice between “reform or radicalism. It is reform or Conservatism”.

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