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6 June 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:18am

Now David Miliband shows a bit of steel of his own

Contender says if he thought Ed Miliband or another would do better, he’d be running their campaign.

By James Macintyre

Earlier, I reported one supporter of Ed Miliband pointing out that if it was true, as put about by some political rivals, that he couldn’t make decisions, then how did he make “the biggest decision of his life” by challenging his older brother, David.

Both Miliband brothers are occasionally accused by their mutual rivals of being a bit wimpish, and David has long been described — confusingly, given that he was at the same time accused of “disloyalty” — as a “bottler” for not challenging Gordon Brown. Now, David has made it clear that he believes he is the best candidate to be leader and prime minister — better than even his brother — albeit reluctantly and after (inevitable) hard pressing by Andrew Marr.

Marr’s show has published the transcript and here is the relevant extract:

Would Ed Miliband make a good leader of the Labour Party?

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DAVID MILIBAND:

Well I’m not going to say anything other than that I think we’ve got a fantastically talented range of candidates right across the party. But it’s very . . .

ANDREW MARR:

But people have to choose between you . . .

DAVID MILIBAND:

They do and I . . .

ANDREW MARR:

That’s the nature of the contest.

DAVID MILIBAND:

And I’m going to talk about what I will bring, and I’m not going to go in for any of the negative campaigning or diminution . . .

ANDREW MARR:

[over] I’m asking you a positive question: would he be a good leader?

DAVID MILIBAND:

. . . diminution . . . diminution of other candidates. It’s really important that we talk positively about what we can bring. And I think it’s very . . .

ANDREW MARR:

So a positive question: would he be a good leader?

DAVID MILIBAND:

I’m going to take an absolute omertà on this because it’s so important that the Labour Party . . .

ANDREW MARR:

OK.

DAVID MILIBAND:

. . . shows the country that it’s ready to be a fighting opposition and an alternative government. And I’m running . . . I tell you what, let me put it this way. If I thought either Ed Miliband or Ed Balls or Andy Burnham or Diane Abbott or John McDonnell would be a better leader of the opposition or a better prime minister than I, then I would be running their campaigns. But I don’t, and that’s why I’m running my own campaign.