Fact File: Ed Miliband


Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, grew up in a family of left-wing intellectuals. 

Although he now locates himself more centrally on the political spectrum, his father Ralph Miliband was a Marxist academic, who fled Belgium to escape the Nazis. Family friends included Labour grandee Tony Benn and Joe Slovo, a leading member of the ANC.

Miliband’s relationship with his older brother, the former Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, defined his early political career. Upon the Ed’s promotion to cabinet in 2005, the Milibands became the first brothers to serve simultaneously in Cabinet since 1938.

This was initially an advantage. During his years at the Treasury, Ed Miliband was nicknamed “the emissary from the Planet Fuck”, a reference to his status as a reliable mediator with the Blairite camp, which included his brother as a member.

As leader, he has spoken of wanting to move past the Blair / Brown divisions which over-shadowed New Labour’s press coverage. He’s succeeded, if only through diversion; the reported rivalry between the Miliband brothers seems a more than adequate replacement. 

If the younger Miliband’s reputation as ruthless usurper has an upside, it’s as a useful counterbalance to that other plank of his public persona; nerdiness. Miliband’s PMQ performances have improved, however, and in the wake of the Government’s “omnishambles” budget, so too have his ratings in the polls. None of which stopped him getting egged on a walkabout.

The Numbers

£7,670 – Total second home claims by Miliband, then Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change during the 2007/8, making a “saint” of the expenses scandal. Source: The Telegraph

1.3% – Percentage of votes by which Ed Miliband beat his elder brother David in the Labour leadership election, after second, third and fourth preferences were counted. Source: BBC News

40 – Ed Miliband’s age in September 2010, when he was elected leader of the Labour Party.

34% – Those surveyed who describe themselves as satisfied with the way Ed Miliband is doing his job, as of May 2012. The Prime Minister’s approval rating for the same period was 32% and the Deputy Prime Minister’s was 25%. Source: Ipsos Mori

Further Reading

The patriotism of a refugee, Ed Miliband, New Statesman, 2012

At this rate Ed Miliband will be in Number 10 by default, Matthew Norman, The Independent, 2012

When Piers met Ed Miliband, Piers Morgan, GQ, 2011

Don’t bet on Ed Miliband to win it for the Tories, James Forsyth, The Spectator, 2012

Time to rethink, not reassure, David Miliband, New Statesman, 2012

The Sketch: Ed Miliband looks like a leader, then the face gives him away, Simon Carr, The Independent, 2012


May 2005 – Miliband is elected to parliament in the safe Labour seat of Doncaster North

June 2007 – Under Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband is appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, becoming a member of the cabinet

Feb 2010 – Ed Miliband’s Twitter followers are greeted with the message “Hhey [sic], i’ve been having better sex and longer with this here.” It later emerges his account was hacked

May 2010 – During the leadership campaign, Miliband condemns the war in Iraq, claiming it led to a “catastrophic loss of trust in Labour”

Sept 2010 – Ed Miliband wins the leadership of the Labour party

Sept 2011 – Miliband uses his key note speech at the Labour Party Conference to distance himself from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, saying “I am my own man.”

March 2012 – After a donations row sparked by Conservative co-treasurer Peter Cruddas, Ed Miliband releases a list of all his meetings with donors who have given more than £7,500

May 2012 – Following a humiliating defeat to George Galloway in the March Bradford West by-election, Labour gain more than 820 seats in the local elections.

June 2012 - Ed Miliband appears before the Leveson Inquiry