Asians backed David Miliband in poll
The overwhelming majority of Indian and other South Asian Labour members voted for former Foreign Secretary David Miliband to be the leader of their party, it emerged on Thursday — a day after the defeated leadership contender walked out of the limelight.world Updated: Oct 01, 2010 00:25 IST
The overwhelming majority of Indian and other South Asian Labour members voted for former Foreign Secretary David Miliband to be the leader of their party, it emerged on Thursday — a day after the defeated leadership contender walked out of the limelight.
David Miliband resigned from the Labour front bench after losing narrowly to younger brother Ed in a leadership contest, saying Ed needed the space to lead without the “distraction” of media reports about sibling rivalry. However, he did not rule out a return to front bench.
David, widely considered among the brightest of Britain’s politicians, said he wants to “recharge my political and intellectual batteries.” Although David won the massive endorsement of MPs and constituency parties, Ed won the contest because of the support of trade unions, who are grouped as ‘affiliates’ in Labour’s three-way electoral college.
According to figures seen by the Hindustan Times, the Black and Minority Ethnic wing of Labour — one of the ‘affiliates’ — voted almost en masse for David Miliband.
Of the 255 valid ballots cast by members of this section, an astonishing 200 supported the older Miliband, 29 backed Ed and 20 Diane Abbot, the Black candidate of the left.
The remaining six votes went to the two other contenders, Ed Balls and Andy Burnham.
Of the estimated 150,000 Labour party members, around 20,000 are said to be South Asians. Of them, 3,363 are members of the Black and Minority Ethnic voting group.
One problem for David Miliband — a moderniser who was picked by Prime Minister Tony Blair to be his head of policy at the young age of 29 — was that traditionally, the individual members of affiliates tend to stay away from voting, so activists end up having a greater say. Originally, Britain’s big workers unions were expected to be divided in their support but they switched to Ed, reportedly following a summit of union chiefs.
Following the contest, Labour MPs have played down policy differences between the brothers and closed ranks around their new leader.
Keith Vaz, the longest-serving Indian-origin MP in Britain who was part of the David Miliband camp, told HT: “The British Asian party members fully support the leadership of Ed Miliband. I believe that both the Miliband brothers in their campaigns acknowledged the importance of the British Indo-Asian community. Ed has got what it takes.”