David Miliband hints he could stand at next general election

David Miliband hints at return to politics - Steven Ferdman/Getty
David Miliband hints at return to politics - Steven Ferdman/Getty

David Miliband has hinted at a return to politics after saying he is "enthusiastic about where Keir Starmer has taken Labour".

The former Labour foreign secretary stood down as MP for South Shields in 2013, but repeatedly refused to rule out a comeback during an interview with Andrew Marr on LBC.

Responding to suggestions he will be back in Parliament by the next election, Mr Miliband said: "That's not been decided yet. That’s not done.

"I’m not even going to go there because I’ve got to do justice to the people who are working for the International Rescue Committee... It means a lot to me that job, and I’m very committed to it.

"The Labour Party is, thank God, put itself into a position where it’s got good people leading it... It’s developing its plans for government. That’s something that I think is really essential for the country that I really care about."

But he later added that "if you start thinking about your next job, you get yourself into trouble".

Tony Blair - REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico
Tony Blair - REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

Mr Miliband started his career in national politics as a senior policy adviser to Tony Blair in Downing Street in the 1990s, before being elected as MP for South Shields in 2001 - a position he held for 12 years.

When Labour were in government, he held a number of senior ministerial positions, including foreign secretary.

After Labour lost the 2010 general election, Mr Miliband ran to be the party's next leader to take over from Gordon Brown. But he lost to his brother, Ed, in a bruising battle which resulted in him refusing to serve in the shadow cabinet.

Mr Miliband walked away from politics in 2013 and became president of the International Rescue Committee in New York.

Despite leaving front line politics he has still been a vocal observer, and in 2020 accused Jeremy Corbyn and the Left of the Labour Party of being in "denial" over its losses at the 2017 and 2019 general elections.

'We couldn't beat the worst Tory campaign in history'

"When people got to look at Labour in 2017, we couldn’t beat the worst Tory campaign in history… and then when people got the full measure of Jeremy Corbyn in 2019, he led us to the worst election defeat since the 1930s," he said.

Labour sources have nevertheless played down the prospect of an immediate return.

They told HuffPost that while initial conversations with the 57-year-old may have taken place, there was no imminent prospect of him being a candidate at the next election.

One said: "It would create endless speculation as to his role, as well as huge resentment from those who didn’t just disappear for a decade."

Another added: "It's very David Miliband that now we look like we might win he’s suddenly 'ready' to come back."