Blears to run for deputy leader

Labour chairperson Hazel Blears is to run for the deputy leadership of the party, it has been revealed.

The 50-year-old Salford MP is expected to announce her intention to enter the race to replace John Prescott on Saturday in her own constituency.

Ms Blears is widely seen as a Blairite and has consistently defended Prime Minister Tony Blair's policies.

Ms Blears is the sixth MP to join the race to succeed John Prescott as deputy Labour leader. The others are Education Secretary Alan Johnson, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, International Development Secretary Hilary Benn, Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman and backbencher Jon Cruddas.

Chancellor Gordon Brown is the favourite to replace Mr Blair when he steps down later this year, but this week veteran MP Michael Meacher announced that he planned to challenge Mr Brown for the party leadership. John McDonnell is also a potential candidate.

Both men need to secure the support of 45 Labour MPs in order to get on the ballot launch a leadership contest.


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