Andrew Marr returns to TV screens to see off David Miliband, who says relationship with brother Ed is 'healing'

The former Labour minister said the party could be on the verge of a “great prize” if the next government is not a coalition

David Miliband bade farewell to British politics yesterday with a warning to his younger brother that the Conservatives could still win the next general election outright.

His comments came in a valedictory BBC1 interview that marked the return to the screen of Andrew Marr, who suffered a major stroke six months ago. Mr Miliband told the presenter: “I know you have been to hell and back, and although viewers will be pleased to see me maybe – some of them – I think they’ll be even more pleased to see you.”

The former Foreign Secretary, who is to head a charity based in New York, said he left British politics to end the “soap opera” of his fraternal rivalry, but admitted he could “never erase” the memory of his defeat in the 2010 battle for party leadership.

Mr Miliband said: “Ed and I are brothers for life. That is something that you value and that you nurture whatever the difficulty of the circumstances.”

Asked if his relationship with Ed was “healing”, he replied: “Of course.”

He jokingly compared their rivalry to the Wimbledon tennis final, saying: “There are the Murrays of this world who win and there are the Djokovics who come second. You've got to be gracious when you don't win.”

And speaking about Labour’s chances at the next general election, Mr Miliband said: “I would say it is all to play for, it is open.”

He rejected the idea that Britain was entering a period when a coalition government was guaranteed, and said: “In the end the British people will take a view, and I think that is a great prize for Labour.

“The danger is that could be a great prize for the Tories as well,” he added.

Mr Miliband did not completely rule out a return to British politics at some point in the future, as he appeared on the show which included a comeback for Andrew Marr after the presenter suffered a stroke in January.

Mr Marr said before the show that he anticipates a full return to television in September.