Former Environment Minister Michael Meacher is set to challenge Chancellor Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party when Tony Blair steps down later this year.

The MPs announcement that he will contest Brown’s right to simply step into the vacant post without an internal election means he will now need to find 44 Labour MPs willing to publicly back his bid.

Mr Meacher will be running as a socialist alternative to the New Labour project and said that if elected he would initiate a spending programme to fast-track the development of renewable energy technologies, shift foreign policy away from reliance on the USA and reverse the widening gap between rich and poor.

Sam Bond

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