Blairists are planning the dramatic return of David Miliband (pictured last year) to the frontline of British politics and a key role in a future Keir Starmer government, Labor sources said last night

‘Leader-in-waiting’: Labor splits as Blair allies plan for David Miliband’s return to key role in future Keir Starmer government

  • Suggestions that David Miliband could take over his old job as Secretary of State
  • He could even become the ‘leader-in-waiting’ if Sir Keir gets into trouble
  • Miliband was beaten to party leader by brother Ed in 2010

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Blairists are planning David Miliband’s dramatic return to the frontline of British politics and a key role in a future Keir Starmer government, Labor sources said last night.

They said the former foreign minister and one-time party leadership contender could return in a by-election for the next general election.

There were even suggestions that Mr Miliband would take over his old job as Foreign Secretary, effectively becoming the ‘leader-in-waiting’, ready to take over if Sir Keir got into trouble.

But last night allies of the Labor leader insisted that the return of Mr Miliband, who was famously beaten by his brother Ed to the party leadership in 2010, would be the ‘last’ that Sir Keir would want. One of them said, “Why would he want to recreate the Miliband brothers’ pyscho drama? Moreover, Keir would rather not have faces from the past occupying top positions in the front seat of Labour.’

Key Labor Right figures have long dreamed of the elder Miliband brother’s return after Ed led the party to a general election defeat in 2015 and was partly blamed on arch-left Jeremy Corbyn succeeding him as leader.

Blairists Are Planning The Dramatic Return Of David Miliband (Pictured Last Year) To The Frontline Of British Politics And A Key Role In A Future Keir Starmer Government, Labor Sources Said Last Night

Blairists are planning the dramatic return of David Miliband (pictured last year) to the frontline of British politics and a key role in a future Keir Starmer government, Labor sources said last night

And their hopes were boosted last week after Mr Miliband, chairman of the International Rescue Committee and based in New York, refused to rule out a return to British politics and praised Sir Keir’s leadership.

When asked by LBC’s Andrew Marr if he would return to British politics before the next election, he replied: “That has not yet been decided.”

Last night, Mr. Miliband’s allies said, “There have certainly been overtures to David to come back.”

However, that sparked a fierce debate among Labor MPs over who exactly pushed for Mr Miliband’s return – the Starmer leadership team themselves or Blairite supporters of Sir Keir who feel that despite the party’s huge lead, Labour, still needs ‘bigger hitters’ to compensate for ‘charisma-light’ Sir Keir.

A former cabinet minister said last night that the party needs both Ed Miliband – who plays a key role in the Starmer team as shadow climate change secretary – and his brother.

He said: ‘Ed and David are absolutely outstanding both as Labor politicians and as policy makers.

“They, like everyone else, have their specific drawbacks, but as policy makers they are unparalleled.”

The former minister also suggested that Mr Miliband would be better placed not in his old role of Foreign Secretary, but in an important domestic job, given the economic challenges a new Labor government would face.

A leading left-wing Labor MP told The Mail on Sunday that rumors of Mr Miliband’s return were certainly being promoted by Blairites and the party’s right. He said, “The Right isn’t convinced Keir can handle it — that’s what this is about.”

1670107480 539 Labour Split As Blair Allies Plot The Return Of David

1670107480 539 Labour Split As Blair Allies Plot The Return Of David

There were even suggestions that Mr Miliband would take over his old job as Foreign Secretary and effectively become the ‘leader-in-waiting’, ready to take over if Sir Keir (pictured on 2 December) is in trouble would come

He added that he suspected Peter Mandelson’s ‘invisible hand’ was deeply involved in promoting Mr Miliband’s return.

However, a Labor frontbencher said last night that Miliband’s return would only lead to new tensions with his brother. There was also concern that Mr Miliband, a prominent anti-Brexit figure, would not help Labour’s attempt to woo Red Wall Brexit voters and leave behind divisions over the referendum.

Separately, prospective Labor MPs were accused yesterday of mocking Sir Keir’s promise to make Brexit work by openly plotting a return to the EU.

In an online discussion organized by the Labor Movement For Europe, parliamentary candidates spoke of opposition to government plans to scrap remaining EU laws as part of a prelude to a return to the Brussels bloc in the future.

Last night Tory MP and ex-Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said their ambitions are “a total mockery of their party leader’s promise to respect the Brexit judgment of the British people”.

But Labor said: “It has been clear to us that there will be no reopening of the Brexit debate and no return to freedom of movement.”

The party declined to comment on calls for Mr Miliband to make a comeback.