Bookies install David Miliband as front-runner

By Ian Dunt

Bookmakers have quickly installed David Miliband as favourite to lead the Labour party, just moments after Gordon Brown announced his intention to stand down.

Mr Miliband is odds-on at 4/6, according to Paddy Power. William Hill had him at 4/7.

Mr Brown said today a new Labour leader would be in place by the time of the party conference this autumn.

Paddy Power give long-time Brown ally Ed Balls odds of 6/1, the same odds as Ed Miliband, David Miliband’s brother.

Alan Johnson receives odds of 7/1.

“It would appear both Labour and Lib Dem figures are jostling for the removal of Brown and no doubt there will be deals to succeed him being made in the shadows of Westminster as we speak,” said Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power.

“The question now is who will be crowned Brown’s successor and whether this happens sooner than the PM is hoping for.”

Mr Brown said he would not promote any one candidate, during his statement.

William Hill offered odds of 8/1 for Alistair Darling, 10/1 for Alan Johnson, 11/1 for Ed Miliband, 12/1 for Ed Balls, 14/1 for Andy Burnham, 14/1 for Harriet Harman, 16/1 for Peter Mandelson, 16/1 for Jon Cruddas, 25/1 for James Purnell, 25/1 for Jack Straw, 33/1 for Liam Byrne, 40/1 for John Denham, 50/1 for Yvette Cooper and 100/1 for Tony Blair.

“The political punters have been waiting for this race to come under orders for some time, and they have already begun placing substantial bets – we have taken a £2,500 wager for David Miliband, which is unlikely to be the biggest we take,” said Hill’s spokesman Graham Sharpe.

“Up to £1million is likely to be gambled on this event, provided it doesn’t turn into a one horse race.”

The offer to step down was a direct response to Liberal Democrat concerns about getting into bed with Labour under such an unpopular leader.

Nick Clegg must now choose between the Conservatives under David Cameron or Labour under a new leader.