British shadow FM stands down after defeat for Labor leadership

08:29, September 30, 2010      

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David Miliband, the then British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, receives interview from Xinhua News Agency during the ongoing Nuclear Security Summit in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, April 12, 2010. (Xinhua File Photo)

British shadow foreign secretary David Miliband said on Wednesday that following his defeat for the Labor party leadership he would step down from frontline politics.

David Miliband, aged 45, was beaten to the leadership of the left-of-center Labor party, the main opposition party, by his younger brother Ed Miliband, aged 40, last Saturday in a shock result.

David said that he was standing down because his continued presence in the frontline of politics would be distracting and that his brother "needed a clean field to be leader."

He said: "This is now Ed's party to lead and he needs to be able to do so as free as possible from distraction. Any new leader needs time and space to set his or her own direction, priorities and policies.

"I believe this will be harder if there is constant comparison with my comments and position as a member of the shadow Cabinet. This is because of the simple fact that Ed is my brother who has just defeated me for the leadership."

Commentators had already been keen to pounce on any perceived difference in policies between the two brothers, with David being seen as keen to follow Tony Blair's "New Labor" policies which are less ideological, while Ed is keen to ditch the Blair heritage and strike out in new directions.

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