Five candidates including former foreign secretary David Miliband are in the race for Labour party leadership, with left winger Diane Abbott securing her place just before the deadline today.
Diane Abbott secured enough nominations to fight the leadership battle only after her rival Miliband gave her his vote. An extraordinary, desperate effort to avoid an all-male contest and show a more diverse side to the party saw the former foreign secretary lend his support to Abbott.
David Miliband was among a string of former ministers who supported Abbott, pushing up her support from 11 MPs to the requisite 33 before the lunchtime deadline.
Fellow left-wing candidate John McDonnell paved the way for Abbott to go through by pulling out of the race this morning.
Others in the fray are David Miliband's brother and former Environment Secretary Ed Miliband, former Schools Secretary Ed Balls and former Health Secretary Andy Burnham.
Abbott is the only woman and the only black candidate in the race.
Voting for the new leader begins on August 16 and the result will be announced on September 25.
David Miliband remains the frontrunner, with 81 nominations, with his younger brother Ed in second on 63. Abbott, Balls and Burnham all ended up with exactly 33 supporters.
Electing a new Labour leader is a highly complex process. Three groups each - MPs and MEPs, unions and other affiliated groups and party members - all have a third of the vote.
A postal ballot will happen over the summer, with anyone who is a member of the party before September 8 entitled to vote.
Voters rank candidates in order of preference on ballot papers with a 'transferable eliminating' system where votes are redistributed until one has 50 per cent support.
The result will be announced on September 25 at a special conference ahead of the party's annual autumn gathering.
Labour suffered one of its worst defeat in May 6 elections after been in power for 13 years. This is the first leadership contest for Labour since 1994 when Tony Blair became leader following the death of John Smith.
Five Candidates in Race for Labour Leadership
H S Rao/London
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