| GEO World|
| David Miliband favourite to replace Brown: bookmakers|
| Updated at: 0045 PST, Tuesday, May 11, 2010|
LONDON: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband is the clear front-runner to replace Gordon Brown as Labour Party leader, bookmakers said Monday, and could go on to become prime minister.
If Miliband took the reins and Labour struck a deal with smaller parties to break the post-election deadlock, he could head a coalition government and lead the country.
Within minutes of Brown announcing his intention to step down, bookies confirmed Miliband as the favourite to replace him -- with his younger brother Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, close behind.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson, finance minister Alistair Darling, schools secretary Ed Balls, and Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman are the other main figures in the frame, according to some of Britain's biggest betting chains.
Paddy Power made David Miliband the 4/7 favourite, followed by both Ed Miliband and Balls at 7/1. Johnson is 8/1, with Harman 10/1.
William Hill had David Miliband at 1/2, with Johnson at 6/1, Ed Miliband at 9/1, with Darling and Balls, a close Brown ally, at 10/1.
"The political punters have been waiting for this race to come under orders for some time," said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe.