BRITISH LABOUR PARTY OPTS FOR LONG LEADERSHIP CONTEST
THE Labour party in Britain has given itself four months to elect a new leader who will face the task of rejuvenating a party out of power for the first time since 1997.
The position came up for grabs when Gordon Brown stepped down a week ago as prime minister and party leader. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat alliance is in power after this month's election, the first coalition since World War Two.
'(The leadership contest) is going to be a very important opportunity for us to reflect on the result of the general election, to renew the Labour Party and to re-engage with the British people,' interim leader Harriet Harman told reporters.
The frontrunner is David Miliband, 44, who was foreign minister in Brown's government. A former adviser to Brown's predecessor Tony Blair, the cerebral Miliband is seen as the candidate of the party's 'Blairite' or centrist wing.
The only other candidate to come forward so far is his brother Ed Miliband, 40, the former energy and climate change minister. His supporters say he is a unity candidate who would end years of tensions between the so-called 'Blairite' and 'Brownite' wings of the party.
Meanwhile, the British Broacasting Corporation (BBC) yesterday apologised 'unreservedly' after a radio presenter jokingly announced that the Queen had died.
Disc jockey Danny Kelly, 39, played the national anthem “God Save The Queen” and told listeners he had an important announcement to make before saying: 'Queen Elizabeth II has now died.'
The joke was made Monday on BBC WM, the local radio service for Birmingham and the surrounding West Midlands area.
A BBC spokesman said it was a reference to an item on Kelly's Internet page.
'We can confirm that Danny Kelly made an inappropriate remark about The Queen during his radio show,' the spokesman said.
'Although made as part of a light-hearted piece about social media friends, and corrected on-air immediately after it was made, the comment was entirely inappropriate and the BBC apologised unreservedly for it.
'There was no intention to offend.
'BBC WM takes this comment very seriously. Action is being taken.'
The spokesman could not say what action was under way.
Kelly's biography on the BBC website describes the qualified chef and former second-hand car salesman as 'outrageous, outspoken and often hilarious.'
The BBC WM website said he had a 'unique brand of humour.'