(This is reproduced from a message sent to David Miliband supporters by email this morning.)
Many, many thanks for the letters and emails I have received since the election result on Saturday.
Your words of encouragement have given me great support, especially during the last week. And your extraordinary efforts throughout the campaign made me feel very proud of our shared values and vision. I will draw strength from this pride as I continue my work as MP and active Labour member.
I’m also proud to see the party uniting behind Ed’s leadership as he starts Labour’s fightback and takes this fight to the Tories.
As Ed gives the party the fresh start it needs I decided that I can best support him and the party as a backbench MP. This decision has not been easy but I am absolutely confident it is the right decision for Ed, for the party and for me and the family.
I am keen Ed has a free hand but also an open field to lead our party. I genuinely feared distracting and destructive attempts would be made to find division where there is none to the detriment of the party’s cause.
The result of the contest gives me a chance to recharge my political and intellectual batteries to be of greater service to the party and the country. I have spent 16 years in or around the top of politics in one capacity or another. There’s a world out there that I have touched but about which I want to know more – from education to the environment to foreign policy.
I think I can best make a contribution to the election and success of the next Labour government under Ed’s leadership by devoting myself to understanding better the new challenges and new ideas and figuring out how to put our values into practice. The new politics of community organising that we started with the Movement for Change has excited me greatly and I want to develop that potential for the good of the whole party.
There is also a personal dimension to my decision. I have essentially been a Cabinet Minister for the whole of Isaac and Jacob’s lives. That has been tough for me and tough for them. One happy consequence of the leadership election will be more time with Louise and the boys.
I have been touched by how many party members came up to me at Conference asking me to campaign for them in the upcoming Scottish, Welsh and local council elections, and I look forward to doing so.
There is much to be done to defend the towns and cities across Britain from the decisions of the new Government, and to put in place firm foundations for the resurgence of Labour under Ed’s leadership.
I believe that I can best serve Ed, the party and the country from a new position, and I look forward to working with you to make a success of the decision.