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Runners and riders line up

David Crow examines those in line to succeed Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour party

GORDON BROWN’S resignation will lead to an almighty battle for Labour’s soul. Those on the centre of the party will be looking for an heir to Tony Blair, the election-winning machine that kept them in power for 13 years.

Brown’s backers want a tribal, left-wing leader like Ed Balls, who would play to the traditional base and the unions. Either could lead to years of infighting, something that Labour MPs want to avoid.

City A.M. assesses the chances of eight contenders in the frame:

DAVID MILIBAND
Foreign Secretary
Tony Blair has always let it be known that he wants Miliband to lead the party. Son of Ralph, the late Marxist theorist, he doesn’t share his father’s ultra left-wing values. But as an intellectual wonk that prefers policy to people, he has inherited a passion for thinking. He looks younger than his 44 years, meaning he could take David Cameron on in the “change” stakes.

ED BALLS
Education Secretary
Brown will do everything he can to parachute his protégé into the hot seat, but will come up against huge opposition.

ED MILIBAND
Climate Secretary
Few think he will stand against his brother, but others say this Miliband could lead the party without alienating those on the left.

ALAN JOHNSON
Home Secretary
A former postman that worked his way up through the unions, he appeals to the left without sharing any of its militant tendencies.

ANDY BURNHAM
Health Secretary
A confident media performer, 40-year-old Burnham is the youngest candidate in the frame. Those hoping for renewal would think that a good thing.

HARRIET HARMAN
Deputy Leader
Has constantly denied she wants the job, but as the architect of the equalities bill, she is the only minister that has passed legislation that appeals to Labour’s core values.

JON CRUDDAS
Backbencher
As a go-between for Tony Blair and the unions, he has a blend of centrist sensibility and left-wing heart.

JACK STRAW
Justice Secretary
One of the so-called “grey beards”, Straw could be ushered in as a caretaker leader to prevent a period of introspection.

DAVID MILIBAND 4/6

ED BALLS 6/1

ED MILIBAND 6/1

ALAN JOHNSON 7/1

ANDY BURNHAM 14/1

HARRIET HARMAN 10/1

JON CRUDDAS 16/1

JACK STRAW 28/1