David Miliband prefers sidelines to soap opera

David Miliband wants to minimise the soap opera
David Miliband wants to minimise the soap opera

By Alex Stevenson

David Miliband has reaffirmed his commitment to keeping to the sidelines of British politics in his latest round of media interviews.

The failed Labour leadership candidate, who was narrowly beaten by his younger brother Ed in the post-2010 contest, insisted he wanted to "minimise the amount of soap opera" by steering clear of frontline politics.

He was speaking as the Commission on Youth Unemployment, which he chairs, published a report identifying 600 UK hotspots where youth unemployment has reached emergency levels.

Media interest in interviews this morning focused on his status on the fringes of British politics, however.

"Ed needs the space to lead the Labour party as he sees fit. I can help Labour at the grassroots," he told BBC1's Breakfast programme.

"I am trying to make sure we are taking our message all over the country and not being in the shadow cabinet allows me to do that. I can minimise the amount of soap opera by not being in the shadow cabinet."

Mr Miliband insisted he had not taken a "Trappist vow" of silence. Last week he demonstrated this by penning a New Statesman article which presented New Labour's policy dilemmas in a factional light.

He identified a "Reassurance Labour tendency" which sought to rely on the big state - an approach which the former foreign secretary insisted was "too one-dimensional".

Mr Miliband's article concluded: "The debate is not whether one side is unprincipled; instead, it is who is right."

Speaking on the Today programme this morning he was more supportive of his younger brother's approach, however.

"I think that the really important thing is that the country sees that the Labour party is renewing itself, which it is under Ed's leadership, and that it is able to have real discussion about the future of the country," David Miliband said.

"I think he's doing it with purpose, with conviction, with some success actually in a number of areas."


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