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6 March 2011

The return of David Miliband

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

By Jonathan Derbyshire

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.
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