Ed Miliband: 'My door is always open for David's return'

Ed Miliband tonight hailed his brother David's decision to quit the shadow cabinet as a "thoughtful and gracious" decision, adding that the door was open for him to return to Labour's frontline.

Speaking on the steps of the Midland Hotel at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, Mr Miliband said he had spoken to his older brother earlier about the decision.



He said David had been "thoughtful" in terms of his family and "gracious" about the future of the Labour Party.



"He is my brother and I am very clear that, as leader of this party, my door is always open for him to serve in the future, either in opposition or back in government," he said.









Ed Miliband, who defeated David to become Labour leader on Saturday, said: "While it would obviously have been fantastic to have him serving in my shadow cabinet, I think he has made a thoughtful and gracious decision.

"Thoughtful for his family and the time he can have with them, and gracious in terms of the future of our party."















Mr Miliband said he would have had a "stronger team" with his brother in the shadow cabinet but said he had "100% respect" for his decision.

He said it was "absolutely right" that his brother had taken his time over making the choice.



"I think it was a typically thoughtful, mature and gracious decision that he has made and it's one I 100% respect."



Asked whether Labour was "diminished" by his older brother's decision, Mr Miliband said: "He is a massive talent for our party and indeed for our country and I'm certainly not going to hide that fact. he is my brother and I have the hugest regard for him.



"We would have been a stronger team with him in it.



"But I think he is right to have made the decision he did, it's the right decision for him and he's made a judgment about what is the right decision for him and also, crucially, about the right decision for his party.



"He didn't want to see a repeat of some of the things we have seen in the past and I understand the reason for that.



"As for my feelings, I'm obviously delighted to be leader of this party but I'm obviously disappointed for him.



"That is the paradox, in a way, of this contest."











Asked whether he had "crushed" his brother's "political dreams", Mr Miliband said: "David was absolutely right when we first discussed this.

"He said 'It would be quite wrong for me to stand in your way' and I said to him 'Likewise' and we both said at the time 'May the best person, man or woman, win this contest'.



"I think that David has a big future in whatever he chooses to do in politics. My door is always open and I look forward to the possibility of him serving us back in government again."

















Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi claimed David Miliband had quit because of political differences with Ed.

"David Miliband was a leading architect of New Labour. The fact that he doesn't want a place in Ed Miliband's shadow cabinet speaks volumes about the direction in which the new leader is taking Labour," she said.



"After being elected by the unions, this is further evidence that Ed Miliband is vacating the centre ground of British politics."



But a string of Labour frontbenchers emerged to say David Miliband had made the right decision for the party.



Tessa Jowell told the BBC: "He has done the right thing for himself, and for his family, and he has definitely done the right thing for the party. This has now given his brother Ed the space to run the party."



Shadow justice secretary Jack Straw said that even if Mr Miliband had taken "Trappist vows of silence" it would still have generated a story.



"That is the media we live with. Everyone in the media knows that is the case," he added.



He added: "The sensible thing to do is what David has done."



Shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain took heart from the fact that he had left the door open to a return to the frontbench.



"The good thing is after recharging his batteries, he's left open that he might come back, like William Hague did after his sabbatical."



Shadow home secretary Alan Johnson said: "To remain in the shadow cabinet would invite constant scrutiny of their relationship and endless discussion of every nuance, however trivial.



"This decision will make it easier for Ed to flourish as leader whilst allowing David to pursue other political interests as well as working tirelessly for his South Shields constituents."



Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott paid tribute to David Miliband, saying the party owed him "an enormous debt of gratitude".



"He helped create a record that we can be proud of and I respect the fact that during the leadership campaign he chose to defend it," he wrote on his blog.



Former home secretary David Blunkett said: "I believe that David Miliband is a man of honour. He has made the right decision for himself, his party and his brother.



"I promise him that it is possible to make a contribution outside cabinet and shadow cabinet, to still be heard where it matters and to think the unthinkable. I look forward to working with him from the backbenches in that role."



The chairman of South Shields Constituency Labour Party wrote to David Miliband praising his "courageous and selfless act of leadership".



Alan Donnelly made public his formal reply to the former foreign secretary's announcement, which said: "In South Shields we all realise how difficult the last few days have been for both Louise and you and it was quite right for you to take some time to consider the implications of the election result for your family and for the Labour Party.



"Ed and Labour's new parliamentary team must be free to focus all of their attention on challenging the coalition Government, and as you have recognised, your membership of the shadow cabinet at this time would simply act as a distraction.



"In withdrawing from the shadow cabinet elections today you are demonstrating a courageous and selfless act of leadership which, although very sad, I support completely."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Learning Support Assistant

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Learning Support Assistant - Newport

£65 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Due to the continual growth and...

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz