by Paul Goodman
David Miliband's decision to jump ship from the Shadow Cabinet comes as no surprise, and as a stroke of fortune for the new Labour leader.
There'll be one more day of the Brothers Karamazov, sorry Miliband, in the papers tomorrow. Then off to the Conservative Conference…and with one bound Ed Miliband will be free.
It's true that David Miliband's not leaving the Commons – as far as we know – and that he'll still be there to weigh in when his brother takes a stance he doesn't like.
But the alternative for Labour's leader would have been far worse. David Miliband in the Shadow Cabinet would have meant front-bench embarrassment in the Commons; speculation and briefings about splits, and two focal points for the cameras in public (as indicated by his Iraq exchange with Harriet Harman).
All in all, a good day for Ed Miliband. If his brother had made this announcement straight away on Saturday he'd have had a better week.
David Miliband's full statement can be found on PoliticsHome (£) here.
And CCHQ has been quick off the mark. Sayeeda Warsi's quoted as follows –
“David Miliband was a leading architect of New Labour. The fact that he doesn’t want a place in Ed Miliband's Shadow Cabinet speaks volumes about the direction in which the new leader is taking Labour.
“After being elected by the Unions, this is further evidence that Ed Miliband is vacating the centre ground of British politics.”