LONDON: Ed Miliband has revealed that he never really believed his brother David would return to frontline politics once he had beaten him to the Labour leadership.
In his first newspaper interview since David announced he was leaving parliament, the Labour leader said he would try to use his brother’s talents “in one form or another” if he became prime minister.
He also denied he had previously promised his brother a clear run at the party leadership in 2010 — a belief that has fuelled a sense of betrayal among David’s friends and family. And he insisted his brother’s values would live on in the One Nation Labour party he is building.
Speaking candidly to the Independent about his tense relationship with his older brother, Ed admitted to “mixed emotions” about David’s departure to become chief executive of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which provides humanitarian relief in more than 40 countries.
“On one level I am sad he was not able to come back. I will miss him because he is 3,000 miles away,” he said. “But on another level, I see him being incredibly excited and happy about this opportunity.”
Interviewed during a visit to Carlisle and Preston, he said David and he both welcomed “a sense of clarity about what he is going to do. That is good for him.”
His brother told him about the possible New York job offer in January. “He was really motivated by it. That was pretty clear from the moment we had the initial discussion about it. He is a very big talent. He needs a big job.”
Ed Milliband revealed that he did not try to talk David out of taking the post. But he did make clear his previous offers of a shadow cabinet post since the 2010 leadership election were not “time-limited”. “I wanted him to know the door was still open. It was important he knew there were choices.”
David Miliband repeatedly rejected offers to join the front bench. Ed said on Thursday “On day one I became leader, David was not keen. His position has been utterly consistent.”
He rejected claims that he told David his “time would come” when cabinet ministers discussed plans to oust Gordon Brown as prime minister in 2009.