ALMOST one in four Labour councillors have backed South Shields MP David Miliband to become the party's next leader.
More than 1,000 councillors provided the Shadow Foreign Secretary with a huge boost at a crucial moment ahead of the ballot drop next week.
Support comes from all corners of Britain as the father-of-two goes head-to- head with his brother Ed, Andy Burnham, Ed Balls and Diane Abbott.
In a letter showing their support, the councillors wrote: "We back David because he is the one candidate who can not only unite the party, but take the fight to the Tories and lead Labour back to power.
"David Miliband is the change Britain needs. He is the candidate that can turn Labour values into a better life for the people who vote Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and those who don't vote at all.
"He is the one candidate during this leadership election who has looked outwards and forwards.
"David has the vision and values to get Labour winning again."
The councillors add to the support for the campaign of 101 MPs, more than 70 Labour peers and the nomination of 165 constituency Labour parties.
Out of the councillors, 125 are Labour council and Labour group leaders, including the leaders of South Tyneside, Birmingham, Newcastle, Bradford and Leicester and Neath City Councils.
Mr Miliband added: "To have this amount of support on the ground is a huge boost.
"I am grateful to receive the support of so many of the party's elected councilors across the UK.
"In opposition, it is our councillors who will be on the frontline of protecting their communities and fighting the Government's cuts.
"The next leader of this party needs to be ready to lead our councillors in next May's elections, so that we can be the change people need in their communities."