Saturday 3 December 2016

David Miliband to quit over Ed's Iraq war condemnation

Andrew Grice in London

Published 29/09/2010 | 05:00

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman listen to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband's keynote speech. Photo: Getty Images
Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman listen to Labour Party leader Ed Miliband's keynote speech. Photo: Getty Images

David Miliband is expected to announce today he is to quit frontline politics after being angered by his brother Ed's condemnation of the Iraq war in his debut speech as Labour leader.

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The former UK foreign secretary, who backed the 2003 invasion, sat stony-faced as Ed Miliband declared at the party's Manchester conference that Labour was "wrong to take Britain to war and we need to be honest about that".

David Miliband's anger boiled over when Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, joined the applause for his brother's attack.

"You voted for it; why are you clapping?" David asked her in a remark picked up by an ITV News microphone.

"I'm clapping because he is the leader. I'm supporting him," Ms Harman replied.

The incident may prove to be the final straw as David decides whether to remain in the shadow cabinet after his narrow and painful defeat by his younger brother on Saturday.

Political allies yesterday maintained the pressure on him to stand in the election among Labour MPs.

But his wife, Louise, is understood to be urging him to return to the backbenches.

Last night his close colleagues admitted that the arguments of those urging him to stand down had been strengthened by the clash with Ms Harman.

They have warned him that the media would constantly be looking for splits between him and his brother if he remained on Labour's front bench.

"It proves the point," one adviser said. "David has given his life to politics since his early 20s. He doesn't want to give it up, but this illustrates perfectly the problem with staying in the Shadow Cabinet. He's in an impossible position." (© Independent News Service)

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