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David Miliband quits front-bench politics

The former foreign secretary, aged just 45, steps down from the UK front benches – “because Ed’s my brother.”

David Miliband, speaking on the steps of his North London home with wife Louise, said he would not be putting his name forward to appear in the shadow cabinet.
David Miliband, speaking on the steps of his North London home with wife Louise, said he would not be putting his name forward to appear in the shadow cabinet.
Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire

DEFEATED LABOUR LEADERSHIP candidate David Miliband has announced he will not seek a position on the Labour front bench under his younger brother Ed, “because he’s my brother.”

Speaking as nominations for membership of the shadow cabinet closed at 5pm – the parliamentary party selects people to form the cabinet, and the party leader then decides whether to give them a portfolio – the former foreign secretary said the party needed a “fresh start from its new leader” and that was aided if he made a fresh start of his own.

Reading from a letter he had sent to the chairman of his constituency party, the elder Milband said:

Having thought it through, and discussed it with family and friends I am absolutely confident it is the right decision for Ed, for the party, and for me and my family.

Any new leader needs time and space to set his or her own direction, priorities and policies. I believe this will be harder if there is constant comparison with my comments and position as a member of the shadow cabinet.

This is because of the simple fact that Ed is my brother, who has just defeated me for the party leadership.

I genuinely fear perpetual, distracting and destructive attempts to find division where none exists, and splits where they don’t exist, all to the detriment of the party.

The Daily Mail reports that Miliband may be considering backing out of British politics entirely with the intention of seeking to become the head of the International Monetary Fund when the position opens in 2012.

Ed had earlier said he did not think “you’ve heard the last of him. I think he’s going to make a big contribution in the future.”

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