The return of David Miliband

Former foreign secretary gives his first major interview since losing the Labour leadership to his b

Has David Miliband's rehabilitation programme begun in earnest? This morning on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he gave his first major broadcast interview since losing the Labour leadership election in September to his brother, Ed. Here are some highlights:

  • Asked about how relations were with his brother, Miliband replied gnomically: "Brothers are for life."
  • On remaining an MP: "I'm very committed to my constituency."
  • On what Ed Miliband has been saying about the "squeezed middle": "[It has] touched a chord."
  • On Labour's prospects: "We have to be economically credible." He noted, in this connection, that the French Socialists were considering choosing the current head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn as their presidential candidate next year.
  • Asked about Labour's record in office: "We must learn the right lessons of Labour in government." In other words, as he said throughout the leadership campaign, don't "trash" the record.
  • On the failure of the centre left across Europe: Miliband noted that there are centre-right governments in most of the major countries in the EU and said this is "in part because the economic terms of trade have changed. And in part because the right has got smart" and has moved on to the "centre ground".
  • On immigration: Miliband recommended that people read the recent Searchlight report on attitudes towards race and immigration in this country; he drew from it the conclusion that "immigration doesn't sit on its own", but must be understood alongside economic factors.

Jonathan Derbyshire is Managing Editor of Prospect. He was formerly Culture Editor of the New Statesman.

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Lord Sainsbury pulls funding from Progress and other political causes

The longstanding Labour donor will no longer fund party political causes. 

Centrist Labour MPs face a funding gap for their ideas after the longstanding Labour donor Lord Sainsbury announced he will stop financing party political causes.

Sainsbury, who served as a New Labour minister and also donated to the Liberal Democrats, is instead concentrating on charitable causes. 

Lord Sainsbury funded the centrist organisation Progress, dubbed the “original Blairite pressure group”, which was founded in mid Nineties and provided the intellectual underpinnings of New Labour.

The former supermarket boss is understood to still fund Policy Network, an international thinktank headed by New Labour veteran Peter Mandelson.

He has also funded the Remain campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe. The latter reinvented itself as Open Britain after the Leave vote, and has campaigned for a softer Brexit. Its supporters include former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and Labour's Chuka Umunna, and it now relies on grassroots funding.

Sainsbury said he wished to “hand the baton on to a new generation of donors” who supported progressive politics. 

Progress director Richard Angell said: “Progress is extremely grateful to Lord Sainsbury for the funding he has provided for over two decades. We always knew it would not last forever.”

The organisation has raised a third of its funding target from other donors, but is now appealing for financial support from Labour supporters. Its aims include “stopping a hard-left take over” of the Labour party and “renewing the ideas of the centre-left”. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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