David Miliband Loses Labour Leadership Vote to Younger, Less-known Brother

Forty-year-old Ed Miliband becomes Labour's 18th leader after narrowly beating his older brother and former foreign secretary by a margin of 50.65% to 49.35%.

The Labour party has a new leader and it’s a Miliband, yes - but not the one most had long been expecting.

Ed Miliband and David Miliband AP 3.4.2010

Forty year old Ed Miliband narrowly beat his older brother David, 45, the former foreign secretary long believed to be the future party leader, by the wafer thin margin of 50.65 percent to 49.35 percent after four rounds of voting - becoming the 18th elected leader of the party.

"Today we draw a line under this contest and move forward united as a team,” Ed said after his victory, as he stepped up to replace Gordon Brown, who resigned in May after Labour lost to David Cameron and the Conservative party in national elections.

"We lost that election and we lost it badly. My message to the country is this: I know we lost trust, I know we lost touch, I know we need to change,” Ed said in his victory speech in Manchester, on the eve of the party conference there. "Today a new generation has taken charge of Labour, a new generation that understands the call of change."

After receiving a standing ovation, Ed hugged his brother David and the two walked out of the hall side-by-side.

Ed, the MP for Doncaster North, was first elected to parliament in 2005. In Brown’s cabinet, he served as climate change and energy secretary, even as his brother served in the more high profile role of foreign secretary. Ed used to often introduce himself at meetings as "the other Miliband."

Now, it is David who might be using that line.

Frustration with David’s decision not to challenge Gordon Brown for the leadership in 2007 and again, in 2009 seems to have worked against him, with many in the party wondering if he “had what it took” to lead them forward. Once Brown stood down, David was the first to announce his candidacy – only to find his brother throwing his hat in the ring a week later.

Ed, who was initially considered by many to be both inexperienced, and too far to the left of the party – his detractors call him “Red Ed”- increased his support base over the summer, and managed, significantly, to secured the high-profile backing of the country's three largest trade unions.

And so while David garnered a majority of the support from Labour's MPs at Westminster – it seems he was defeated thanks to Ed’s dominance among trade unions and grassroots activists.

In the final tally of the votes, candidate Ed Balls, the shadow education secretary came in third, Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary fourth and Diane Abbott, a leftwing backbencher, last. David remained ahead in the first three rounds of the election, but finally lost as the other candidates were knocked out and their votes reallocated.

The Miliband’s mother Marion, an activists and human rights campaigner, who is a leading member of the Jews for Justice for Palestinians group, was not present at the voting, saying earlier she could not bear watching one of her sons being disappointed - no matter which one it ended up being.