Is Miliband heading to Brussels?

Could he become Europe's first foreign minister?

It's been a good week for David Miliband. On Tuesday he was touted as the man to save the Labour Party and today the Times and the Guardian report that he is in line to become Europe's first foreign minister.

Miliband is said to be admired in Paris and Brussels as one of the few genuine Europhiles in Gordon Brown's cabinet. An EU diplomat remarks: "He is effective and well liked. He has an ability to combine tactics with an understanding of the political big picture and people find that very impressive."

But would he run for the post? As Miliband contemplates the prospect of life in opposition, it would be strange if he were not tempted by the high politics of Brussels.Yet his success would be dependent on the failure of his mentor, Tony Blair, to become EU president. It would be unacceptable for two British figures (and two Labour figures) to claim both of the posts created by the Lisbon Treaty.

There is no doubt that Miliband has the talent and the ambition to take on the job. Since becoming Foreign Secretary, he has overseen the creation of a genuinely alternative approach that favours soft power and diplomacy over military intervention. But it would be a pity for Labour to lose one of its most cerebral and articulate figures from a cabinet that remains, by historical standards, profoundly undistinguished.

I would still be surprised to see Miliband leave the domestic scene. His stock has been rising since his impressive conference speech lambasting the Tories' sinister European alliance. He will not miss his opportunity to claim the leadership next year.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Exclusive: Labour MEPs call for Jeremy Corbyn to resign as leader

Letter demands Corbyn's departure and attacks his office for "promoting" the work of the Leave campaign. 

Labour's MEPs have called for Jeremy Corbyn to resign in the latest challenge to his leadership. In a letter sent to Corbyn and leaked to the New Statesman, Glenis Willmott, the chair of the European Parliamentary Labour Party (EPLP), wrote: "We find it hard to see how any Labour leader can continue in that role if they do not have the support of their MPs." Corbyn yesterday lost a no confidence vote among the Parliamentary Labour Party by 176 to 40. The letter also attacked the leader's office for an "official Labour briefing document" which "promoted the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for the Leave campaign."

The demand for Corbyn's resignation is described by sources as the "majority position" of Labour's 20 MEPs. Their stance could prove crucial if the leader is not automatically included in any new contest (a matter of legal dispute) and is required to seek 50 nominations from MP/MEPs (20 per cent of the total). 

The letter reads: 

"The European Parliamentary Labour Party met today for its first meeting since the referendum and concluded that we should send you this letter today.

"The EPLP has always striven to have a loyal and constructive relationship with our party leader, and we have worked hard to cooperate with you over recent months. However, we have very serious concerns in the light of Labour's defeat in the referendum campaign.

"Responsiblity for the UK leaving the EU lies with David Cameron. That being said, we were simply astounded that on Friday morning, as news of the result sank in, an official Labour briefing document promoted the work of Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart for the Leave campaign.

"Labour's loyal and dedicated teams of activists had just spent weeks on the doorstep and on street-stalls making the case to remain in the EU and countering leave campaign arguments. Yet you and your office authorised a briefing that put the whole Labour campaign on a par with two Labour politicians who had been appearing for weeks alongside right-wing politicians, such as Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson.

"Separate from the referendum issue, it has become clear in recent days that you do not have the confidence of the Parliamentary Labour Party. We find it hard to see how many Labour leader can continue in that role if they do not have the support of their MPs.

"So it it with a heavy heart that we urge you, for the sake of the Labour Party and for the people in our country who need a Labour government, to reconsider your position as Labour leader."

Yours sincerely,

Glenis Wilmott MEP

On behalf of the European Parliamentary Labour Party 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.