Battle of the Milibands heats up as poll puts Ed in the lead

FORMER foreign secretary David Miliband, long favourite to become the next head of the Labour party, has slipped behind his younger brother Ed in the leadership race, a poll suggested yesterday.

The YouGov survey of 1,700 Labour and union members for the Sunday Times put the two brothers well ahead of the three other candidates hoping to lead the party.

David Miliband, seen as the preferred candidate of former prime minister Tony Blair, secured the most first-choice support, with 36 per cent of the vote, four points ahead of his brother on 32.

However, once second-choice votes were factored in and lower ranking candidates eliminated, Ed Miliband emerged as the winner with 51 per cent of the vote.

A spokesperson for the elder Miliband remained sanguine in light of the poll, however. “We have always known it was going to be close but we are still confident we can win,” she told CityA.M. yesterday.

Despite the latest poll finding, bookmaker William Hill kept David Miliband as their 4-11 favourite to win, but cut the odds on Ed Miliband from 3-1 to 2-1.

Polling of Labour party members ends on 22 September. The winner will be announced at the party’s annual conference on 25 September.