David Miliband 'will not quit his seat in South Shields'
DAVID Miliband will not quit his North East seat after younger brother Ed snatched the Labour leadership from his grasp, a key ally yesterday declared.
Speculation has been rife that the South Shields MP would quit politics after his dream of becoming Labour leader was shattered. But Alan Donnelly, chairman of the South Shields Labour party, yesterday told The Journal there was “no question” of him stepping down.
It remains unclear whether the older Miliband brother will serve under Ed, although he could set out his intentions in his speech as Shadow Foreign Secretary to the Labour conference in Manchester today.
However, as a North East MP urged him to stay in the Shadow Cabinet, Ed Miliband was unable to say what his older brother will do.
The new Labour leader said his brother had shown “generosity and graciousness” in defeat. “I think he needs time to think about the contribution he can make,” he added, “I think he can make a very big contribution to British politics.”
His comments came as Alan Donnelly, chairman of the local Labour party in South Shields, told The Journal he had spoken to David after he failed to win the leadership contest, whose outcome was announced on Saturday. Mr Donnelly said: “He is a very strong character. I know he is very disappointed and he will just move on from it.
“I would hope he is giving some thought to what job he would like to do in the Shadow Cabinet.”
Asked if David might quit his parliamentary seat, he said: “Obviously, there is no question that he would stand down.
“He went into this election on the basis that there are no guarantees and the thing is that he has always said, and said it through the campaign, that he drew enormous strength from the constituency.”
Easington MP Grahame Morris, who backed Ed, said Labour had chosen the “right man” to be its leader.
He said: “I feel that his views were in line with my own and a large number of Labour party members, recognising that we had achieved a lot in government, things like the minimum wage and investing in public services, but also that we lost touch with large sections of the electorate who felt they couldn’t support us. So Ed showed humility.
“I do think he is the right man, he is a new generation, to take the Labour party forward and to win the next Labour election.”
On David Miliband, he added: “I do hope he will be part of the team. He is a great talent. He’s absolutely untouchable as a Commons performer, but I do hope there is a big job for him.”
Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman said Ed had won by a “whisker” but insisted the party would unite behind him. Of David Miliband, she said: “Although he is disappointed, I know he will step forward and play a really important part in Labour’s future.”