Ed Miliband not up to being Labour leader, says Campbell

TONY'S Blair's former press chief Alastair Campbell has said that Labour leadership hopeful Ed Miliband is not up to the job.

Mr Campbell, who backs David Miliband in the contest, suggested that Ed, the younger of the two brothers, would not win the next general election.

He said Ed would only make Labour "feel okay about losing" unlike his older brother, the outgoing foreign secretary, who could get the party "into shape again".

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The deadline for nominated candidates to secure the backing of the 33 Labour MPs needed to take part in the election is on Wednesday.

David and Ed Miliband have secured 62 and 49 nominations respectively.

Mr Campbell's comments will be seen as a key endorsement from one of Labour's big beasts of the Blair and Brown era.

Mr Campbell said: "Ed Miliband is a really nice guy, but I think you've got to differentiate between making the party feel OK about losing, and making the party face up to what it needs to get into shape again. I think David's got that."

David Milliband yesterday criticised Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for backing 6.2bn of cuts in a newspaper interview, after campaigning against them.

Mr Miliband said: "I think there's breathtaking hypocrisy in Nick Clegg saying he's going to have progressive cuts, cuts that he argued against while he was campaigning."

Former health secretary Andy Burnham who has 21 backers said: "I'm confident I can reach the target."

Ed Balls, education secretary in Gordon Brown's government, has the 33 signatures he needs.

Two MPs from the left of the party are expected to struggle to win the nominations required. John McDonnell has ten signatures, and Diane Abbott has seven.