Labour’s one-time ‘PM in waiting’ exits politics


Former British foreign secretary David Miliband, once tipped as a potential prime minister, has said he is leaving politics to boost his brother’s chances of leading the opposition Labour party to victory in an election in 2015.

His departure ends speculation he might replace brother Ed Miliband as Labour leader between now and 2015 if his sibling falters. But the move was also seen as a sign he did not think it likely that Ed would win.

David Miliband, 47, had already retreated from frontline politics after narrowly losing a Labour leadership election in 2010 which pitted him against Ed, 43.

The battle between the brothers gripped the British political world. David was viewed as the more gifted politician and most Labour MPs backed him, but the trade union movement, the bedrock of Labour support, tipped the vote in favour of Ed.

Miliband said he was stepping down as a Labour MP to take up a job in New Yorkas head of the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid organisation. The brothers’ parents were Polish Jewish refugees who fled the Holocaust.

Although Labour is ten points ahead of the ruling Conservative party in polls, many MPs think the lead should be much greater at this stage in the election cycle, given the grim state of the economy.