If Ed Miliband fails to win in May, who will lead Labour?

In five weeks the country will go to the polls. In the event that David Cameron remains Prime Minister Labour will need a new leader. But who?

Following the 2010 election Gordon Brown stood down and Harriet Harman became interim Labour leader before Ed Miliband was elected that September. In 2015 the situation might be quite different. On one hand, if it looks as if David Cameron is to lead a stable administration, one unlikely to collapse in the near future, then a similar set of events would likely happen. An interim leader would be in place for about six months (the same as last time) whilst party members got to vote on their new permanent leader. This would give the party a chance to reflect. On the other hand, if David Cameron ends up leading a fractured administration, perhaps a minority government with help from a combination of the Liberal Democrats, the DUP and UKIP, then a new leader might need appointed quickly.

Who’s next likely to lead the party? What do the betting markets say?

Andy Burnham (5/2)

According to William Hill, Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow secretary for health, has the edge in becoming the next Labour leader. In 2010, Mr Burnham came fourth in Labour’s leadership contest, but with the Miliband brothers out the way and with Ed Ball having just lost a bid to be chancellor Burnham would have a good chance. Of course Diane Abbot could run again and other Labour figures could step forward, but Mr Burnham is a charismatic figure and the betting markets think he has the edge in a future leadership contest.

Yvette Cooper (3/1)

William Hill also suggests that Yvette Cooper is in with a shot. As former Chief Secretary to the Treasury and former secretary for Work and Pensions she certainly has experience. Furthermore, in 2013, Woman’s Hour put her in a list of the top 100 most powerful women in the UK, showing that she has significant influence in the country so could be well placed to lead the Labour party.

Chuka Umunna (6/1)

Mr Umunna is young, charismatic and clearly very ambitious. He entered Parliament in 2010 so is a new face for Labour, but as Shadow Business Secretary he is clearly going places. As a relatively new MP he would not be tainted by Blair and Brown, something which could help in greatly. He could be a contender in a future leadership race. However, at the age of 36 he might be seen as too young, nonetheless, he looks to be a likely contender in the event Ed Miliband fails to become Prime Minister.


According to William Hill, the three mentioned are ahead of any other potential contenders such as Dan Jarvis (7/1), Tristram Hunt (10/1) and David Miliband (12/1). The company also gives odds for some Labour figures who have no chance in becoming leader, such as former Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair (33/1) and Gordon Brown (150/1).

The full betting odds can be found here.


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