David Miliband ‘making a difference’

By politics.co.uk staff

Ed Miliband's older brother David is not wasting time on the backbenches, he has insisted in a newspaper article.

The former New Labour foreign secretary, who refused a role in Ed Miliband's shadow Cabinet after losing to his brother in the party's 2010 leadership election, said he was focused "on the front line rather than the front bench" in a piece for the Mirror.

Uncharitable analysts might interpret the article as an attempt to take credit for last year's local election results, which saw Labour gain 824 councillors and control of 32 councils.

"The best thing about the local election results is that Labour in local government can show what Labour can do to make a real difference to people's lives," he wrote.

"We cannot substitute for a Tory government in Westminster with a Labour local council.

"But we can make a real difference. And we can develop the ideas that can make the next Labour manifesto a practical programme for government."

He cited the extra powers to tenants given by Labour in Lambeth and development of the local economy in Manchester as examples of positive progress made by the party in local government.

"Where we do the work, where we turn the party outwards, where we listen to the local community, where we are on people’s side before we ask them to be on our side – we are in with a good shout," he added.

"That is where I am spending my time. On the front line rather than the front bench. Working at local level to help local Labour parties make a difference to people's lives."

The coalition government's 'omnishambles' is widely credited with having increased Labour's May 3rd gains to the upper end of expectations for the party, boosting Ed Miliband's credibility as a potential prime minister after the 2015 election.