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Ed Miliband poses for ‘selfie’ with Joey Essex

The leader of the Labour party posed with ‘salty potato’ fan Joey Essex for a bizarre ‘selfie’ at the Sun's Military Awards in London

Just days after he was pictured looking steely-eyed and a bit left out as David Cameron and Nick Clegg did the dignitary rounds at Mandela’s memorial service, Ed Miliband thought he’d steal some of the ‘selfie’ spotlight for himself.

But far from cosying up to world leaders like Barack Obama and Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt for a mobile snap, the subject of Miliband’s portrait was of an entirely different nature.

Obama's Mandela Memorial Selfie: Who The Helle Is Thorning-Schmidt?

Instead, the leader of the Labour party posed with ‘salty potato’ fan Joey Essex for a bizarre ‘selfie’ at the Sun's Military Awards in London last night.

Proudly posting the photo up on his Twitter page, The Only Way Is Essex star wrote: “With my mate @Ed_Miliband at the #Millies #SELFIE”

He later retweeted another snap of the pair from his agency @neonmanagement, which was posted with the accompanying message: “JOEY ESSEX to stand at next Election …”

There was, however, no call for Miliband to do the same.

Earlier the same day, David Cameron attempted to explain why he decided to lean in for a ‘selfie’ with Barack Obama and the Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt during Nelson Mandela’s memorial service in Johannesberg.

Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons, he said: “When a member of the Kinnock family asked me for a photograph, I thought it was only polite to say yes.”

Thorning-Schmidt, the Social Democrat leader in Denmark, is married to former Labour leader Neil Kinnock’s son, Stephen Kinnock.

The photographer who took the viral photograph, Roberto Schmidt, also defended their decision.

“At the time, I thought the world leaders were simply acting like human beings, like me and you,” he wrote via his blog.

“I doubt anyone could have remained totally stony faced for the duration of the ceremony, while tens of thousands of people were celebrating in the stadium.

"For me, the behaviour of these leaders in snapping a selfie seems perfectly natural. I see nothing to complain about, and probably would have done the same in their place.”

Mandela passed away, aged 95, last Thursday. His funeral will be held on Sunday.