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Brothers' Battle for Labor Leadership in Britain


Ed Miliband, left, newly-elected leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, embraces his brother David Miliband, following David's speech on foreign policy during the party's annual conference, in Manchester, England. Labour elected young lawmaker Ed Mi

Ed Miliband, left, newly-elected leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, embraces his brother David Miliband, following David's speech on foreign policy during the party's annual conference, in Manchester, England. Labour elected young lawmaker Ed Mi

Britain's Labor Party has selected a new leader, Ed Miliband. The decision was made after a tense leadership bid that saw two brothers pitted against each other for the top job.

Losing candidate former Foreign Minister David Miliband spoke at the Labor Party Conference in Britain on Monday. "I am so proud of my campaign, I am so proud of my party, but above all I am incredibly proud of my brother," he said.

It was a tight race for the Labor leadership. Five people were fighting for the top seat, but by the end of campaigning it had become clear that there were really on two possible winners - David or Ed Miliband.

David Miliband was Foreign Secretary until the Labor Party lost power earlier this year. In Britain he is the better known of the two brothers and was initially favored to win.

But in the end his younger brother beat him with a margin of just more than one percent.

Speaking on Saturday, the new Labor leader Ed Miliband paid tribute to his brother. "David, I love you so much as a brother," he says, "and I have so much extraordinary respect for the campaign that you ran."

Tony Travers is from Britain's London School of Economics. He says the two brothers' campaign became increasingly tense towards the end of the leadership contest.

"They are close as brothers and I think it has been slightly traumatic, particularly the race to the finish bit of the leadership race. And obviously it will take a bit of time for wounds to heal although I suspect, as in most families, they will," Travers said.

The Labor Party was in power for 13 years, first under the premiership of Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown, who stepped down as leader after Labor failed to win the general election earlier this year. Britain is now run by a coalition government led by Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Travers says Ed Miliband is considered a left-wing party member. He has called for a move away from so-called New Labor, a movement that catapulted Labor into power during the 1990s by repositioning it as a more centrist party.

But Traverse says it is unclear in what way Ed Miliband will steer the party. "The British electorate needs to see what he stands for and what his real policies will be," he said. "Just because he was supported as the left wing of the two brothers does not mean that he is now bound to stick there."

David Miliband has not yet said what are his future plans. Forty-year-old Ed Miliband is to speak at the Labor Party Conference on Tuesday.

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