Ed Miliband, the junior brother of the former Foreign Secretary, David Miliband has wrestled his senior brother to lead what he described as a new energised and reorganised Labour Party.
He won the party leadership through a narrow margin to get the leadership baton stunning and defying all forms of predictions. He was a late entrant into the race after throwing down the gauntlet to challenge his brother in what many saw as an effort to push up contesting members to the high post.
His win has unleashed one of the greatest political victory upsets especially among labour party’s local election for many years.
He won with 50.65 per cent of the vote against David’s 49.35 per cent in the final round of voting.
There were jubilant scenes among Ed’s supporters when the announcement was made in Manchester at 4.50pm on Saturday.
David quickly moved to congratulate his brother, first applauding and then leaning over to give him a hug, in a move Labour supporters hope will signal a return to unity in the party.
David, who is the shadow foreign secretary, will now have to decide whether he wants to serve in the shadow cabinet that his brother will begin putting together during the party’s conference this week.
It is reported that the brothers’ advisers have already held a secret meeting to discuss what role either would play in the other’s team.
Mounting the podium to receive the party’s plaudits Ed Miliband said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would one day lead the party. You have put your trust in me and I am determined to repay that debt to you.”
Turning to his brother he said: “David, I love you so much as a brother and I have such extraordinary respect for the campaign you ran.”
Labour members had gathered expectantly at Manchester Central conference centre at 4pm for the leadership announcement.
Before the winner was made public the five candidates in the race gathered backstage to be told the results. They were then led to seats at the front of the audience for the announcement.
The results were revealed in alphabetical order, starting with Diane Abbott, the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP and the only woman in the race, followed by Ed Balls and Andy Burnham and the two Milibands – David first then Ed.
Votes cast for the candidates by the party’s membership, MPs and MEPs, and affiliated organisations including the unions, were then translated into an overall Electoral College percentage figure.
Ed Miliband appears to have benefited from a last-minute surge of support before voting in the postal ballot closed on Wednesday, and was installed as bookies’ favourite with less than 24 hours to go after trailing David throughout the four-month contest to find a successor to Gordon Brown.
David won a majority of support from Labour’s MPs at Westminster, but crashed to defeat due to Ed’s dominance among trade unions and grassroots activists.
Ed secured the crown in the fourth round of counting in Manchester, after the votes of eliminated candidates Diane Abbott, Andy Burnham and Ed Balls were redistributed to take his support past the crucial 50% mark.
The contest placed a strain on Ed and David’s relationship and was described as a ‘blood war’, pitting brother against brother while the three other candidates were reduced to playing bit parts.
David Miliband became the early front-runner to replace Gordon Brown after gathering a majority of MPs’ nominations.
But as the contest wore on Ed began to close the gap, prompting reports – denied by the two – of family friction.
The Miliband’s mother Marion Kozak was said to have been upset at the way the contest had developed and stayed away from the announcement. Instead she is understood to have visited her sister in New York.
David, 45, was the establishment candidate. A close ally of Tony Blair from the earliest days of New Labour he worked for him in opposition from 1994 and headed the No 10 policy unit during New Labour’s first term in power.
Even before he became an MP, David was a key figure in reshaping the party’s agenda and was nicknamed “Brains” by Alastair Campbell for his mastery of policy detail.
Winning the safe seat of South Shields in the 2001 election, he was a minister within a year and joined the Cabinet in 2005, rising to become environment secretary, where he put the issue of climate change firmly on the agenda for the first time.
When Gordon Brown took over from Mr Blair as Prime Minister he appointed David as Britain’s youngest foreign secretary since David Owen 30 years earlier.
By contrast Ed Miliband, at the age of 40 the younger of the two, presented himself as the “change” candidate who would end the New Labour era of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
The pair, sons of Marxist writer Ralph Miliband, both attended Haverstock Comprehensive School in north London and studied philosophy, politics and economics at the same Oxford college.
But, within the Labour Party, while David became a follower of Mr Blair, Ed grew closer to Mr Brown after becoming a special adviser to the then chancellor in the late Nineties.
He entered the Commons as MP for Doncaster North in 2005.
When Mr Brown became prime minister two years later, Ed joined the Cabinet as Cabinet Office minister and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
He later became energy and climate change secretary, a position he has shadowed since Labour moved to the opposition benches after this year’s general election.
Labour MP Douglas Alexander, co-chairman of David Miliband’s campaign, said the party would now unite behind its new leader.
“The Labour Party normally forms a circular firing squad after we lose a general election,” he said. “One of the most heartening aspects is not just the civility of this campaign, but also that during it 32,000 more people have chosen to join the Labour Party.”
“Tonight, I am deeply honoured, proud and humbled to have been elected Leader of the Labour Party” he declared in his first address.
“After a long campaign, spanning four months, a new generation has taken charge of Labour. It’s a new generation that understands the need for change — in our party and in our country” he continued..
“I want to say a special thank you to David, Ed, Andy and Diane. All four of them have energised our party and our movement. Each has unique talents that they will bring to bear for the future of our party and our country. We are stronger for their remarkable efforts, and I look forward to working with them as we build the new winning majority that will take Labour back to power” he envisioned.
Ed expressed his my deep gratitude all Labour and trade union members who he said powered his campaign to the victorious end.
“It is because of your efforts and your dedication to our party that we are now able to begin the work of change so that we can return Labour to power. Thank you” he said in his emotional thank you speech.
“Now, our task is for Labour to begin to speak to the country again. We will fight to win back people’s trust, and we will re-connect with the ordinary voices in communities in every corner of Britain. Labour will once again be the radical, reforming choice — a new force of British politics and on the side of ordinary people the length and breadth of the country”, the new leader said.
He continued:”We will seek to build a new kind of economy that works for people. We will address inequalities and expand opportunity. And we will place values at the heart of our society: values of family, time, work, community and the environment around us”.
He however expressed his gratitude for the trust that’s been bestowed on him adding:”I will repay it every day of my leadership, by unifying this party and taking Labour back to power”.
“Now the work of the new generation begins” he concluded.