David Miliband to leave politics for charity role in New York

Labour MP, who lost out to brother Ed in party leadership fight, reported to be joining the International Rescue Committee

File photo from 2010 of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (left) with his brother David. David Miliband is to step down as an MP to take up a charity role in New York, it has been reported. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

File photo from 2010 of Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (left) with his brother David. David Miliband is to step down as an MP to take up a charity role in New York, it has been reported. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

 

David Miliband is to step down as an MP to take up a charity role in New York, it was reported last night.

The former foreign secretary, narrowly beaten to the Labour leadership by his brother in 2010, will announce the move tomorrow, the Daily Mirror said.

There had been widespread rumours that he was set for a return to the opposition front bench, with his sibling insisting recently that “the door is open”. But instead he is expected to quit UK politics altogether, triggering a by-election in his South Shields seat.

Labour MPs including John Woodcock, Toby Perkins and shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint expressed sadness at the loss of such a significant figure, in what will be seen as a blow to the right of the party.

Mr Miliband is reported to be joining the International Rescue Committee charity. Miliband quit the shadow cabinet after losing the knife-edge vote for the party leadership to his younger brother, saying he did not want to be a “distraction”. They have admitted that it was a bruising encounter — in which David was clear favourite and lost out because Ed secured trade union votes — that strained family ties.

He has remained on the backbenches but fuelled talk of a frontline comeback earlier this year with a vocal Commons attack on the Government’s benefit changes. The MP – who is vice-chairman and non-executive director of Sunderland Football Club – is married to American violinist Louise Shackelton and the couple have two children. He secured a majority of 11,109 at the 2010 general election with 52% of the vote, having represented South Shields since 2001 when he entered parliament after being a key Downing Street adviser to Tony Blair. – PA