Ed on David: “It was quite clear to me…that he probably didn’t want to come into the shadow cabinet”

March 29, 2013 1:19 am

I spent yesterday on the road with Ed Miliband (and community organiser Arnie Graf) travelling to Carlisle and Preston to see some of the work that is moving party reform away from being a dry and dusty topic and into being potentially transformational for the party – more on that over the next few days.

But I also took the opportunity to ask Ed a few questions about his brother stepping down as an MP.

Was he, at least on some level, relieved that the discussion and debate about the two brothers will now come to an end?

“I wouldn’t describe it as that. I suppose I feel at one level, obviously, sad that he’s leaving the country and going to America. I’m going to miss him. And on another level I feel he’s obviously – and it’s been obvious to me over the last few months talking to him about the job – that he feels very excited by it and quite happy to be doing it. And so it’s a mixed sense really. It’s good in the sense that it’s brought clarity.”

“I think to be fair the “soap opera” had died down a lot – it wasn’t like it was a continuing thing – but there was clearly a sense of uncertainty about what he was going to do, and so it’s brought a sense of clarity. So in that sense I think it’s good. For him – and for me – that it sort of came out in the right way. I think there was generosity on all sides of the Labour Party for the contribution he has made.”

But did he try and talk David out of it?

“I think what I tried to do was to say, when I said the door was open for the shadow cabinet, I was serious about that. And I wanted him to feel that there was a choice. At the same time, I didn’t want to try and push him into doing something that he didn’t want to do. And it was quite clear to me from the moment I became leader that he probably didn’t want to come into the shadow cabinet. I thought that might change, but it became increasingly clear to me over the past few months when this opportunity arose – I think he said to me in our second conversation “if I get offered this I’m likely to take it”. So in a way I think the die was cast in terms of what was going to happen if he was offered the job. It was a big opportunity, it speaks to our family history, it suits his talents.”

There will be more on my day on the road with Ed Miliband – including a full interview – over the Easter Weekend.

  • Daniel Speight

    There will be more on my day on the road with Ed Miliband – including a full interview – over the Easter Weekend.

    Hopefully Mark you asked him to apologise to those upset by the Labour abstention the other day and you will be reporting his answer.

  • Dave Postles

    He didn’t want to be a distraction. Shouldn’t we respect his wishes?

  • Dave Postles

    He didn’t want to be a distraction. Shouldn’t we respect his wishes?

    • postageincluded

      Ha! This reminds me a time, back in the 70s, when I made what I thought was a dramatic exit from a cantankerous meeting. The following day I was told that everyone thought I’d gone to the loo.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Can you recall what the meeting was about? Most meetings seem to have little purpose. Some do, but at least in my life, such meetings of purpose are rare.

        It would be good to be in a position to make a “cantankerous non-appearance”, and to enjoy the time saved to get on with some proper work.

        I make a “black spot” in my diary for every weekly management meeting that I have to attend, the black spot signifying to me as a record my opinion of the utility of the meeting. The diary records about 90% useless meetings.

        • Brumanuensis

          “Can you recall what the meeting was about? Most meetings seem to have little purpose. Some do, but at least in my life, such meetings of purpose are rare”

          I think you’ve just hit upon the topic of Alain de Botton’s next book, Jaime.

        • postageincluded

          It was 40 years ago but I have a feeling it was about a Gay Lib jumble sale, a hilarious event that did actually happen. The falling out was over how to spend the proceeds.

          Obviously my humiliation is more memorable to me than the agenda for the day though I doubt we had anything as patriarchal as an agenda, thank you very much…

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

            In the true-blue town where I was brought up we had regular Labour Party jumble sales. We never said who they were for unless asked, though!

          • postageincluded

            Haha. We didn’t say who we were collecting for even when asked, Mike. Coming out’s all very well, but not as important as good quality jumble.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Can you recall what the meeting was about? Most meetings seem to have little purpose. Some do, but at least in my life, such meetings of purpose are rare.

        It would be good to be in a position to make a “cantankerous non-appearance”, and to enjoy the time saved to get on with some proper work.

        I make a “black spot” in my diary for every weekly management meeting that I have to attend, the black spot signifying to me as a record my opinion of the utility of the meeting. The diary records about 90% useless meetings.

  • http://twitter.com/MJHerbert Michael Herbert

    these feel like dispatches from an alternative universe.. to-morrow there are protests up and down the country over the bedroom tax..next week there are many actions planned over the privatisation of the NHS, removal of support from disabled people etc…where is the Labour party?…I can’t remember the last time I saw a Labour ward or constituencty banner on any march or protest

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  • D. Rumsby

    Well Ed may be relieved, but wait for Big Sister to come on the scene, then Ed will be really worried!

  • markfergusonuk

    Where do you live? Because a week ago there were Labour Party banners aplenty on a protest in my local area (Barnet)

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  • Colin W. Garnett

    Pity about David going off to the States. After over 50 years of party membership, I feel that he will be one of the best leaders that we never had. The party and the country will miss his breadth of expertise and experience, his intellectual capacity, his character, charisma, and his ability to get his ideas over to people beyond the narrow confines of our party politics. Good luck, David, and thanks !

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