Britain's new opposition leader mulls brother's future
Britain's new opposition chief Ed Miliband faced an immediate headache Monday as the elder brother he defeated in a battle for the post refused to say if he would join the Labour Party's frontline team.
Former foreign secretary David Miliband, 45, was set to address the party's annual conference but remained non-committal about reports that Ed had offered him the job of finance spokesman following Saturday's close leadership vote.
"This is a conference not about me but about Ed's leadership," David Miliband told reporters as he arrived at the conference venue in Manchester, northwest England, before his speech.
"This is not about secret decisions, this is about having proper space for the Labour Party to set out its course for the country," he added.
"I am not going to get into this until conference is well and truly done and Ed's got his speech out of the way. Anyone who tells you anything about what I have decided is not telling you the truth."
Pressed on why it was taking so long to decide, he replied: "I don't know if you noticed, I came here on Saturday planning a slightly different week, just a slightly different week, so I am now thinking what I am going to do instead."
Ed Miliband, 40, only narrowly beat David to the party leadership thanks to strong backing from trade union members, and Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-Liberal coalition has already branded him the unions' puppet.
But with British media relishing the Milibands' sibling rivalry -- including reports that Ed asked "What have I done to David?" after the victory -- it was the elder brother's future that dominated the agenda Monday.
Asked as he arrived at the conference venue Monday about whether he had offered his brother the finance spokesman position, the new Labour leader said only that David was "incredibly loyal both to me and the party".
"He'll make his own decision about what's best to do... that is a decision for him and he'll make the decision in his own right," he said.
"He needs his own time to think about what he's going to do I think he has a huge amount to offer our politics."
© 2010 AFP