Clarke 'will not challenge Brown leadership campaign'

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Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke has told the Times that he does not intend to challenge Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership.

Prime minister Tony Blair is expected to announce his resignation from the post in the near future after a decade in office yet the chancellor is set to have few contenders to face in his battle for New Labour's top job.

However Mr Clarke, among those speculated to compete in the leadership race, has today categorically stated that he will not challenge Mr Brown and instead will be happy to work as one of his cabinet minister if requested.

When asked if he would serve in Mr Brown's Cabinet the former Home Secretary said: "Yes. I've enjoyed being in government...if it would be useful for me to serve I would like to do that."

"I am not going to run in the leadership election. I was ready to run. I was considering running. I think I would have had the support to be nominated and be able to run," Mr Clarke told the newspaper.

But he added: "There is not the appetite for that kind of contest in the party at the moment."

Any challenge to Mr Brown is expected to come from left-leaning contenders Michael Meacher and John McDonnell who last week united their campaigns. It is not thought that any senior members of the Labour party will challenge Mr Brown.

Previous politicians rumoured to stand include environment minister David Miliband although he ended the speculation last month.

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