Reports, reviews, interviews and columns

Video: David Miliband quits UK politics

Former foreign secretary David Miliband has announced that he’ll stand down as an MP, two-and-a-half years after his brother Ed beat him in the Labour leadership contest.

The Jewish politician has decided to move to New York where he’ll take up the position as CEO of the International Rescue Committee. Head of Policy in Tony Blair’s government at age of 29 and foreign secretary at 41, Miliband has enjoyed an illustrious political career.

Richard Ferrer, Editor of the Jewish News explains the significance of David’s decision:
“There was some shock and disbelief when he took on this role and abandoned a long career in British politics. But when you do look at his family background, his father was a Belgian Jew, his mother was Polish, the family fled the Nazis, so being involved in an organisation like this, International Rescue, which was launched the year that Hitler came to power, in 1933, to help persecuted Jews, and now more people across the world, it’s like a rite of passage for him. And while it was surprising that he chose to abandon a long-term career in the Labour Party, it does seem to be a natural fit for him.”

David has said that he was right to “step back” from front line politics to avoid “the daily soap opera” which may have arisen from working alongside his brother”.

Richard Ferrer, Editor of the Jewish News:
“I heard someone describe David Miliband as a Ferrari parked in a garage. He’s pretty much the best thing through Labour Party have got. But unfortunately at the moment it’s a case of a lot of people, a lot of publications, perhaps the Jewish News included, making something of the sibling rivalry, and the fact that the two of them are incredibly intelligent, intellectual political people who were clearly pushing for the same position in the party. We’re talking about a guy who could have easily been leader of the Labour Party. He lost a narrow scrape of an election. You could even argue it was simply the Union vote that got his brother, Ed, the role that he now holds, and now Ed is looking like he is going to be the next Prime Minister of Britain. So, had the story been different, David Miliband could be lined up for Prime Minister.”

But leading Labour Party figures believe that David can return to front line politics should he choose to do so. Lord Mandelson commented, “David Miliband can come back and I think he will”. Jack Straw said he would be welcomed back into the Labour Movement.

Richard Ferrer, Editor of the Jewish News:
“I don’t think it’s too late. He’s only in his mid to late forties. This could be a great opportunity for him to go away, do something else outside of politics. I think he probably feels his wings are slightly clipped, because his brother is in power and he doesn’t want to distract Ed’s push for Number 10 Downing Street.”

But despite going in different directions their core beliefs still seem to be the same.

Richard Ferrer, Editor of the Jewish News:
“Only a few weeks ago David’s brother Ed did a Q&A (question and answer) with Jewish News readers, and at one point Ed alluded to the fact that one of passions he has, one of the things that really motivates and guides him is tikkun olam (healing the world) and now, only a few weeks later that’s exactly, exactly the line that I think David will be using in the next few years when his new role as the head of a huge new international charity takes him around the world.”

No one is certain whether David will return to front line politics but his departure is at a critical time for the Labour Party, as planning for the 2015 elections gets underway. Indeed some political analysts believe that if Ed doesn’t lead Labour to a win David could be chosen as a replacement leader for the party. However neither Ed or David have confirmed this.

As America prepares to welcome Mr Miliband who is nicknamed “brains” UK politicians are saying their goodbyes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

About Me

Newspaper editor and publisher with 30-years’ experience at national and local titles in the UK and USA including the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Jewish Advocate. Editor of Jewish News (Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year 2021/22) since 2009. Columnist for The Times, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, Independent and others.


%d bloggers like this: