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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

David Miliband ‘eyes return to British politics’ as head of a new party

President of International Rescue Committee is reported to be in talks to front a centrist movement with Tony Blair

Former UK foreign secretary David Miliband is reportedly considering returning to the UK to set up a new centrist political party. Stephen Lock / The National 
Former UK foreign secretary David Miliband is reportedly considering returning to the UK to set up a new centrist political party. Stephen Lock / The National 

The former British foreign secretary David Miliband, who left his home country in 2013 to become president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), could return to frontline politics in the UK to lead a new centrist party.

According to a story in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Miliband, a Labour politician from the moderate wing of the party, is reportedly considering returning from New York, where he has worked for five years.

The moderate wing of the Labour Party has been sidelined under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn in recent years.

The Mail on Sunday said Mr Miliband had held meetings with his political mentor Tony Blair, former prime minister and a winner of three elections as Labour leader. The meetings have discussed the possibility of setting up a new party that could attract centrists from the Labour Party and beyond.

The pair are also reported to have approached former Labour donors, who have been unsettled by the radical leadership of Mr Corbyn. These are thought by the paper to include billionaire Sir Trevor Chinn and financier Jonathan Goldstein.

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A source told the newspaper that “David Miliband is the figure who towers above all others as the person who could lead a new centre-left party.

“Tony and Trevor are both convinced by David – but they differ on whether there is room for a centrist party in today’s political climate. They are intent on waiting for the collapse of the Corbyn project – and then they aim to sweep in.”

Another source said: “David is always thinking about what’s best for his country and the Labour Party. His heart and passion is still the future of the UK.”

Mr Miliband ran against his younger brother Ed for the leadership of the Labour Party in 2010, after the party lost office following 13 years in power under Mr Blair and Gordon Brown. Ed won the election, prompting his sibling to stand down from front-line politics immediately, before taking up the IRC role three years later.

He will be a keynote speaker on Tuesday at the World Innovation Summit for Health in Doha, Qatar.