Alan Whitehead, re-elected Labour MP for Southampton Test, has announced he will support Ed Miliband for leadership of the Labour Party. Dr Whitehead has said that Mr Miliband ‘was the best person to bring voters back to the party in the south’.
Miliband declared his candidacy at the weekend, and prior to the General Election earlier this month held the position of Energy Secretary. He is the brother of David Miliband, former Foreign Secretary, who has also announced that he will be standing for the position Labour leader. Other candidates expected to stand against the brothers are former Schools Secretary Ed Balls, and backbencher Joe Cruddas.
Dr Whitehead is among 14 MPs who have already pledged support for Ed Miliband’s campaign. He was recently held on to his seat with a majority of 2,413 votes. When interviewed, he explained that: ‘Ed has a more radical view of how the labour movement takes its message forward. It is a long-standing challenge for Labour to make its message resonate in the south of England and Ed represents the way I think the Labour Party should go in future’. When questioned about the specifics, he suggested that Labour would need to address voters’ concerns about housing, transport, environment, immigration and the labour force in order to win back support.
Southampton Itchen MP and former Communities Secretary John Denham has announced that he will not be standing for the Labour leadership, but is expected to have strong views about the future direction of the party. He won a fifth term in office, holding onto the seat he has held since 1992 by just 192 votes. He has said that he will not reveal who he wants to succeed Gordon Brown as leader, as he wants to be able to speak freely about what Labour needs to do to rebuild support in the south.
Both Alan Whitehead and John Denham attended University of Southampton, and are both the President of the Student Union.