James Forsyth James Forsyth

David Miliband should join the shadow Cabinet or quit British politics

David Miliband’s statement today declares that he ‘wants no part’ of the ‘soap opera’ of leadership drama. But as long as David Miliband remains outside the shadow Cabinet and, therefore by definition, not doing everything he can to support his brother it will be easy for people to say that he is just waiting for Ed to fail.

If David Miliband does not wish to be a focus for discontent with his brother but cannot bring himself to join the shadow Cabinet, then he should resign his seat. Only by leaving the Commons will he persuade some of his supporters that he is not the man who can — and will — take over if his brother is deposed.

Personally, I do not think David would be doing any better than his brother. Those who pine for him should remember the tendency to panic in the media spotlight that prevented him from getting up a successful leadership challenge to Gordon Brown and the sense of entitlement that lost him the leadership election.

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