Ed Miliband can deliver Welsh assembly win, says Labour

Senior Welsh Labour figures claim the party will begin to recover after Ed Miliband's leadership contest victory.

First Minister Carwyn Jones sent congratulations and said the new leader would help to deliver a Labour majority at next May's Welsh assembly election.

Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain called both Ed Miliband and his defeated brother David "two outstanding leaders for a new generation".

Welsh Labour MPs had split between them, but most AMs did back the winner.

Ed Miliband, aged 40, beat his elder brother by the wafer thin margin of 50.65% to 49.35% after second, third and fourth preference votes came into play.

The result was announced at a special conference in Manchester.

Mr Jones, who became Welsh Labour leader last December, said: "I offer Ed Miliband my heartfelt congratulations.

"Having been through a leadership contest myself I know they can be arduous as well as rewarding and I know he will now be keen to get on with the job of taking the fight back to the Tories.

"Ed will be an excellent leader, he's a bright and energetic figure and I look forward to working with him to help deliver a Labour majority in the next assembly elections."

Mr Hain, the Neath MP, said: "I'm delighted, but you saw the narrowness of the vote. These are two outstanding leaders for a new generation in politics, and they are going to play a big role in the future.

"I think we are now in the position to start to win back the 5m voters that we have lost since the last general election."

Lord Kinnock, the former Labour leader and ex-Islwyn MP, said he had offered Ed Miliband advice several weeks ago.

'Unite very quickly'

Image caption Ed Miliband and Peter Hain at Labour leadership hustings in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, in July

He said: "I told him 'Don't be leader of the opposition for long, because that's pure purgatory - the best way out of that is to get elected'."

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant was a David Miliband supporter, but he told the BBC News Channel that he was delighted for Ed Miliband.

He said he suspected some Tories were thinking the result was good for them, but they should not underestimate the new leader.

He also defended the fact that Ed Miliband won with the help of union members' backing, and said they were the votes of ordinary people.

He said Labour would now unite very quickly around its new leader.

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams MP sent congratulations and said he would be calling on Labour under its new leader "to support Plaid's priorities for Wales".

These, said Mr Williams, included giving "full and active support for a Yes vote to give Wales a proper Parliament," and "to campaign to ensure that Wales gets its fair share of funding".

During the campaign, the 29 Welsh Labour MPs had appeared to be evenly split between the Miliband brothers.

Public backing

By the start of September, 11 had each declared their backing for either David or Miliband, and another two were supporting Ed Balls. There were no declared backers of the other candidates.

Ed Miliband also won the public backing of another influential Welsh Labour figure, the former party leader Lord Kinnock, and his wife, Glenys, a former MEP.

However, among Labour members of the Welsh assembly, there was much stronger support for Ed Miliband.

As September began, 15 of the 26 AMs threw their weight behind the younger Miliband, as did the only Welsh Labour MEP, Derek Vaughan.

However, the AMs' support for Ed Miliband was not so significant as that among the MPs, because of Labour's electoral college in which a third of the vote went to members of the parliamentary party.

Labour MPs and MEPs, party members and members of affiliate organisations were all balloted individually and the results from the separate categories each made up a third of the final result.

The share of the vote from each category was divided proportionately to get the final winner.

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