David Miliband: Labour 'turned the page backwards' under my brother's leadership

The former Foreign Secretary called for a return to the approach adopted by Tony Blair

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Indy Politics

David Miliband has warned that Labour “turned the page backwards” under the leadership of his brother Ed and called for a return to the approach adopted by Tony Blair.

The former Foreign Secretary’s strongest criticism of Labour’s performance at last month’s general election prompted fresh speculation at Westminster that he might seek to make a comeback in British politics.

Friends say that he wants to carry on working in New York for the International Rescue Committee, which he has headed since 2013, after making a commitment to the humanitarian relief organisation. But they believe he could return to Britain in time to run for Parliament at the 2020 election. If he had become an MP for the second time, he could then stand for the Labour leadership if the party did not win power and the leader stood down.

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David and Ed Miliband in 2010 (Getty Images)

Allies believe David Miliband could never have succeeded his brother as Labour leader because the party would have been accused by its opponents of telling voters: “Sorry, we picked the wrong Miliband.” But friends believe the 49 year-old former MP for South Shields, who was pipped at the post by his younger brother in the 2010 leadership election, could be a contender after someone else has led the party.

Now that Ed Miliband has stood down as Labour leader, David feels that he can speak out more freely on Labour matters. He told America’s CNN channel that Labour needed “to find again that combination of economic dynamism and social justice that defined the success of the Labour party” under Mr Blair.

David Miliband urged the candidates in the party’s leadership contest “to reflect on the very clear lessons of two devastating electoral defeats for the Labour Party  in the last five years, which have come for a very clear reason. And the reason is that the public have concluded that instead of building on the strengths and remedying the weaknesses of the Blair years, the party has turned the page backwards rather than turning the page forwards.”  Ed Miliband won the leadership after positioning himself as the “not Blair” candidate.

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