David Miliband to stay off front bench to 'avoid creating soap opera'

 

David Miliband today said he would stay off the Labour front benches to avoid creating a “soap opera”.

The former leadership candidate told BBC Breakfast that suggestions he should return to the shadow cabinet were “flattering”, but he added: “I think I was right to say 'Look, I've lost the leadership election'.”

He said remaining on the back benches would allow his brother Ed, who defeated him in the 2010 poll, to lead.

“Ed needs the space to lead the Labour Party as he sees fit. I can help Labour at the grassroots.

“I am trying to make sure we are taking our message all over the country and not being in the shadow cabinet allows me to do that. I can minimise the amount of soap opera by not being in the shadow cabinet.”

When it was suggested that an essay he wrote in the New Statesman, laying out a seven-point plan for the party, had already re-started the “soap opera” that surrounded their relationship, he said: “I promise you the soap opera is not back and certainly not back for daily episodes with me in frontline politics.

“I think that the really important thing is that the country sees that the Labour Party is renewing itself, which it is under Ed's leadership, and that it is able to have real discussion about the future of the country.

He added: “I think he's doing it with purpose, with conviction, with some success actually in a number of areas.

“He's raising the health service issue today and I think that is the right thing to do.”

Asked if he would stand if there was a leadership contest, he said: “There is not going to be one, Ed has been elected to fight the next election and I think he is going to fight it with real courage and conviction.”

Discussing the subject of youth unemployment, Mr Miliband said young people in work should mentor those out of work.

Addressing the findings of an inquiry on the issue, he said: “I think there are three really big problems. First we have got to prepare young people for a different world of work and we have got to prepare them better.

“Secondly, if they do become unemployed we help them back into work faster and with more intensive help, and thirdly we have got to make sure there is proper demand for labour among young people, we would like wage subsidies brought in for young people, we would like to see apprenticeships not just expanded but organised on a national scale.

“We also think that young people can help each other. We are going to say today that any young person in work for over a year should mentor a young person who is out of work for over year because this problem is really chronic and this is something we can tackle.”

He rejected the claim that immigration has added to the problem of youth unemployment.

“We have looked at the allegation it was benefit rates that was causing unemployment, that it was the minimum wage, or that it was migration, and what we found was that some of the areas with the highest young unemployment had the lowest levels of migration from outside the UK.

“We didn't find the connection that says it's immigration that has caused unemployment. It just didn't stack up in the economic statistics that were done in an independent way.”

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Miliband denied levelling criticism at his brother's leadership of the Labour Party but said he had never taken a vow of silence.

He insisted he wanted Ed to become prime minister at the next general election and that they both agreed about the need to "rethink" Labour's approach.

Mr Miliband said it was "quite wrong" to interpret the New Statesman article on the challenge facing Labour as an attack on his brother, who narrowly beat him to the Labour leadership in 2010.

"I agree with Ed that the right thing for the party is to rethink its approach," he said.

He acknowledged that he had not discussed the article with his brother in advance.

He maintained that he had no interest in "re-fighting" the leadership election but would speak out on issues he wanted to.

"I lost an election. I didn't take a decision not to think. I didn't take a Trappist vow that said that I'm never going to say anything again," he said.

"I lost an election, I've no interest in re-fighting a leadership election.

"The only election I care about is the general election under Ed's leadership which the Labour Party needs to win for the good of the country."

Mr Miliband said he wanted his brother to win the planned 2015 general election because "he's my brother, he's the leader of my party and because I think he can make a big difference to the country".

He added: "He's the best man to lead Labour into the next election."

He said he had stepped back from frontline politics to avoid a "daily soap opera", but stressed that he "didn't stop thinking".

"I think Ed has shown in 18 months a willingness to engage on the big and difficult arguments that the country desperately needs," he said.

"The important thing is that, when I think I've got something to say and I think it will help Labour and help the country and help the debate, I should be able to say it and I do say it."

PA

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit