David Miliband refuses to rule out future leadership bid

Labour leadership runner-up tells local paper: “Who knows what will happen in the future?”

Discussing the Milibands recently with a Labour peer, I was told: "Things are terrible. They're no longer on speaking terms."

In an atmosphere of lingering resentment at Ed's leadership campaign, notably his (truthful) claim to have opposed the Iraq war, the two camps have struggled to evolve a modus vivendi. Meanwhile, David's supporters have constructed a fantasy in which their man returns to claim the crown from his treacherous brother.

With this in mind, the elder Milband's comments to the Journal are perfectly placed to keep the rumour mill churning.

He tells the local paper:

I have no plans to return to front-line politics – at the moment, that is. For now, I'm doing what's best for the party and leaving the field open for Ed to lead the party. I've got to admit I wish the leadership campaign had gone differently but who knows what will happen in the future?

For those increasingly suspicious of his political motives, David has a clear message: I'm not going anywhere.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary mean for policy?

The political and policy-based implications of the new Secretary of State for International Trade.

Only Nixon, it is said, could have gone to China. Only a politician with the impeccable Commie-bashing credentials of the 37th President had the political capital necessary to strike a deal with the People’s Republic of China.

Theresa May’s great hope is that only Liam Fox, the newly-installed Secretary of State for International Trade, has the Euro-bashing credentials to break the news to the Brexiteers that a deal between a post-Leave United Kingdom and China might be somewhat harder to negotiate than Vote Leave suggested.

The biggest item on the agenda: striking a deal that allows Britain to stay in the single market. Elsewhere, Fox should use his political capital with the Conservative right to wait longer to sign deals than a Remainer would have to, to avoid the United Kingdom being caught in a series of bad deals. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.