Influential backbench MP Jon Cruddas has backed Diane Abbott to be the next leader of the Labour Party, weeks after ruling himself out of the contest, the result of which will not be announced until September.

There are currently six candidates for the position and each needs to secure the support of 33 fellow Labour MPs by 9 June 2010 in order for their names to be put to a vote in front of the wider party.

So far only three candidates have successfully gathered the required number of nominations, David and Ed Miliband and Ed Balls. Andy Burnham seems to be on track with 21 nominations. John McDonnell now has 10, while Diane Abbott, who seemed to making almost no progress at first, has seven.

Jon Cruddas was also seen as a possible contender from the left of the party. He fought a close campaign for his seat in Dagenham & Rainham, where it was feared the BNP could gain a strong presence. He is also considered to have good connections with the grass roots of the Labour Party.

However he has said that while he would like to "play a full role" in the re-invigoration of the Labour Party, he said that he was not suited to be leader.