David Miliband to quit politics

AFP-JIJI

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who lost the 2010 battle for the leadership of the opposition Labour Party to his younger brother Ed, announced Wednesday he is quitting politics.

Miliband is stepping down as a lawmaker to take up the post of president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a New York-based humanitarian organization.

The 47-year-old said it was time for a “new challenge and a new start” after the leadership battle with his brother, which is reported to still be a source of tension in the family.

Ed Miliband said that “British politics will be a poorer place without David”, adding that he would personally miss him.

As one of the leading lights of the Labour Party, David Miliband had been seen as an obvious candidate for the top job after then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown lost the general election in 2010.

But his repeated failure to seize the leadership slot before that had lost him support, and his brother bested him to the post with the support of the trade unions.

In a letter Wednesday to the chairman of the Labour Party in South Shields, the northern English seat he has held since 2001, David Miliband praised his brother’s leadership.

Miliband also described his excitement about his new job at the IRC, which was set up at the suggestion of Albert Einstein in the 1930s for those fleeing the Nazis.

His father, Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband, was born in Brussels and fled to Britain as a teenager when the Nazis invaded in 1940, while his mother survived the German occupation in Poland.

“Starting in September, this job brings together my personal story and political life. It represents a new challenge and a new start,” Miliband wrote.