Jeremy Corbyn can and should unite the Labour party, says Ed Miliband

The former leader says he will support the left-winger from the backbenches

Jon Stone
Saturday 12 September 2015 14:55
Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband

Jeremy Corbyn can and should unite Labour by including people from all sides of the party in his top team, Ed Miliband has said.

Speaking immediately after the left-winger’s victory in the Labour leadership contest the former party head said he would be supporting his new lead.

“I’ll be offering Jeremy Corbyn my support and I hope people across the party to so to," Mr Miliband said.

“I hope also, and I expect him to do this, Jeremy reaches out to all parts of the party because he has a big job to do to seek to unite the party and I believe he does intend to do that and I hope that he does.”

Mr Miliband, who led the party between 2010 and 2015, argued that MPs should “respect” Mr Corbyn’s huge mandate of nearly 60 per cent of the vote.

“Jeremy has won a very clear victory, he has won a victory in all section of the party [and] I believe we should respect that mandate,” he said.

“At the same time I realise he has a big responsibility and it is a big responsibility, a responsibility that I remember from my time as leader, to use the talents of people who didn’t vote for him, who may have said things about him in the leadership election that weren’t particularly complimentary, but to reach out and to use every part of our party.”

But some senior Labour MPs have already ruled themselves out of serving on Mr Corbyn’s frontbench, with one former shadow cabinet minister citing “substantial political differences”.

Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership contest

Tristram Hunt, Liz Kendall, Jamie Reed, Emma Reynolds, Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper have all said they will work from the backbenches while Mr Corbyn is leader.

Mr Miliband himself also said he would campaign from the backbenches rather than taking a position in the shadow cabinet.

Mr Corbyn was elected as Labour leader to succeed Ed Miliband on a landslide, gaining 59.5 per cent of the vote.

The result was compared to 19 per cent for Andy Burnham, 17 per cent for Yvette Cooper and 4.5 per cent for Liz Kendall.

Despite only gaining the bare minimum of nominations from MPs to get on the ballot paper, the new leader of the opposition proved very popular with members, registered supporters, and affiliated trade unionists.

He now faces the daunting task of leading a party whose establishment was dead-set against his victory and who warned that he could destroy the party.

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