29 Sep 2010

David Miliband to announce plans for Labour future

After suffering a narrow defeat to his brother in the Labour leadership contest, David Miliband is to announce plans for his future amid speculation he will walk away from the shadow cabinet.

David Miliband announces plans for Labour future (Reuters)

The shadow foreign secretary has until 5pm today to submit his nomination for the party’s Shadow Cabinet, led by his younger brother Ed Miliband.

Growing speculation has suggested that David Miliband will quit frontbench politics and not seek re-election.

Yesterday footage captured by ITN cameras emerged of the former leadership candidate criticising his brother as he made his keynote speech to party members in Manchester.

As the new leader sought to distance himself from the former New Labour regime by branding the invasion of Iraq “wrong”, David was seen turning to deputy leader Harriet Harman and saying: “You voted for it, why are you clapping?”

“I’m clapping because he is the leader. I’m supporting him”, she replied.

Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon said David Miliband’s words clearly illustrated his future intentions.

“David Miliband’s hands stayed firmly apart. His face tenses as Ed Miliband says the words then he looks down at Harriet Harman’s hands and then says the words. He doesn’t look like a man who is going to hang around in the Shadow Cabinet to me,” Gary Gibbon wrote from the conference.

Party conference gossip
"Another fascinating evening of gossip in the bars," writes Krishnan Guru-Murthy from the Labour Party Conference.

"I learned that the Ed Miliband comments in his speech that the war in Iraq was wrong (which so irritated his brother) were carefully planned as a final full stop on the argument developed through the campaign. It was a crucial point of difference with David Miliband and I am told they quite deliberately saved the most definitive statement for last.

"It hasn't been the best start for a new leader but they accept that was the inevitable price of having toppled David Miliband from the favourite position. They are content with him getting his message about not being Red Ed across.

"One new supporter (ex Miliband D camp) even explained why Ed Miliband might just have the secret quality neither Tony Blair nor Gordon Brown had: innocent likeability. "People might just think he's quite nice, which is a welcome change after the last two leaders," they told me.

Read more from Krishnan Guru-Murthy

Speculation had been mounting that Mr Miliband would refuse to serve under his brother after suffering a narrow defeat in the Labour leadership election.

The impact of the result was demonstrated on Monday when David’s wife Louise was spotted in tears backstage after he delivered a speech appealing for Labour to unify behind Ed.

After arriving back in London, Ed Miliband said his older brother would “be around in one way or the other” even if he announces he is quitting frontbench politics.

“I think he has an extraordinary amount to offer British politics,” he said.

“But he makes his own decisions about that and I know he will do the right thing.”

Will he stay or will he go? Channel 4 News Who Knows Who looks into David Miliband‘s background for clues on his future – and profiles those waiting in the wings to fill brother Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet.

Time for Labour’s new generation
Yesterday newly elected Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged to lead a “new generation” to challenge the Coalition Government.

In his speech to the party conference in Manchester, Mr Miliband said that – despite his similarity in age with Prime Minister David Cameron – he represented a new, optimistic political generation.

“A few days ago our contest came to an end and now the real contest has begun. I relish the chance to take on David Cameron,” he said.

“We may be of a similar age but in my values and ideals I am of a different and new generation. The new generation is not simply defined by age but by attitude and ideals, and there is a definite difference between us and David Cameron. And that is optimism…

“We are the optimists in politics today, so let’s be humble about the past, understand the need to change, inspire people with the vision of a good society. Let the message go out – a new generation has taken charge of Labour which is optimistic about our country, optimistic about our world, optimistic about the power of politics. We are optimistic and together we will change Britain.”

He didn't sink, he didn't fly 
There were some tick-box lists of policies he feared omitting, there was no rhetorical zest but that probably wouldn’t have worked with his more conversational style. The jokes weren’t terrific but weren’t awful either. He didn’t sink, he didn’t fly, writes Channel 4 News Political Editor Gary Gibbon.

But given that most of the peope in the hall didn’t vote for him and were gasping on Saturday as the results came up on the screen, he turned some opinion in the room. The country will have to watch and see what he really means to do (if anything) about top salaries being too high. He thinks the Coalition will last 5 years and he has time to explain … but first impressions can be powerful and hard to shift.

He’ll hope he’s done enough today to combat some attempts to paint him as an extremist and keep voters’ minds open.

Read more from Gary Gibbon's blog on Ed Miliband's speech