| Ed Miliband |
Edward Samuel Miliband|
24 December 1969
Fitzrovia, London, England
|Alma mater||Corpus Christi College (Oxford)|
Edward Samuel "Ed" Miliband is the former Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition, who resigned following Labour's defeat in the May 2015 General Election. A devastated Ed Miliband said he was truly sorry for the scale of the party’s crushing defeat. In a night of tribulation and tears, Labour lost all but one of its seats in Scotland – including those of the Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, and the party’s campaign manager, Douglas Alexander. Overall, the party was down by about 25 seats, making it a worse defeat than under Gordon Brown in 2010. The most surprising result of the night was the unexpected defeat of the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, one of the few genuine big beasts of the party.
Ed Miliband has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Doncaster North since 2005 and served in the Cabinet from 2007 to 2010 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He and his brother, David Miliband, were the first siblings to sit in the Cabinet simultaneously since Edward, Lord Stanley, and Oliver Stanley in 1938.
Born in London, Ed Miliband graduated from Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford, and the London School of Economics, becoming first a television journalist and then a Labour Party researcher, before rising to become one of Chancellor Gordon Brown's confidants and Chairman of HM Treasury's Council of Economic Advisers. When Brown became Prime Minister in 2007, he appointed Miliband as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Miliband was subsequently promoted to the new post of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, a position he held from 2008 to 2010. Following the May 2010 General Election and the resignation of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, Ed Miliband was elected Leader of the Opposition Labour Party.
Responding to reports in November 2014 that some Labour MPs were calling for Ed Miliband to step down as leader, Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary, said Miliband was on course to become an “innovative, reforming, radical” prime minister, as two others angrily dismissed suggestions that they had opened secret discussions on what they would do if Miliband stood down. Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, and Andy Burnham, the Shadow Health Secretary, said the speculation in the Times was a lie. Burnham told Sky News:
- “The stories in today’s newspapers are complete and pure fiction. There is not a shred of truth in them. What I think it’s part of is a deliberate and desperate attempt to destabilise the Labour Party and to divide us. But I can say this: it won’t work. We are a united team, we are united behind Ed.”
A spokesman for Cooper said:
- “The spreading of lies like this only damages the Labour Party and should be seen as exactly what it is – complete and utter garbage.”
An article in the Labour-supporting Daily Mirror concluded that Ed Miliband should step aside in favour of Yvette Cooper:
- "Perhaps the news will soon move on and Ed will survive past May 2015. But if he becomes PM he'll have a torrid, torturous time he can't possibly enjoy. But it would be nicer - for him and for us - if enough Labour supporters who live on Planet Earth could tell Ed to step aside and let Yvette have a shot at it."
Following defeat at the May 2015 General Election, Ed Miliband stood down as Leader of the Opposition and as Labour Party leader. Deputy leader Harriet Harmon took over as interim leader while Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall are contenders for the Labour leadership. In July 2015, Labour peer Melvyn Bragg launched a blistering attack on Ed Miliband for leaving the party 'in a disaster zone' which it will struggle to recover from. In an interview with the Sunday Times Lord Bragg said:
- "He behaved very badly when he stood down for not really thanking all those people who had either stood as candidates or the many others who had worked for the party during the election. He just made that disastrous departure speech during which he thought he had become a sex symbol. As soon as he had done that speech he effed off to Ibiza without his children. It was outrageous. Then he came back for a few days and effed off, this time with his kids, to Italy. Miliband failed us, his Labour supporters. And Labour will now, because of him, be in a disaster zone for a long time. There is no chance of us winning the next election if the party carries on as it has been."
- 1 Background
- 2 Early political career
- 3 Leadership of the Labour Party
- 4 Policies and views
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Related Document
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Born in University College Hospital in Fitzrovia, London, Miliband is the younger son of immigrant parents. His mother, Marion Kozak, a human rights campaigner and early CND member, is a Polish Jew who survived the Holocaust thanks to being protected by Poles. His father, Ralph Miliband, was a Belgian-born Marxist academic of Polish Jewish origin who fled with his father to England during World War II. The family lived on Edis Street in Primrose Hill, London. His older brother, David Miliband, still owns the house today.
Ralph Miliband left his academic post at the London School of Economics in 1972 to take up a chair at Leeds University as a Professor of Politics. His family moved to Leeds with him in 1973 after he suffered a heart attack, and Miliband attended Featherbank Infant School in Horsforth between 1974 and 1977, during which time he became a fan of Leeds United F.C.
Due to his father's later employment as a roving teacher, Miliband spent two spells living in Boston, Massachusetts, one year when he was seven and one middle school term when he was twelve. Miliband remembered his time in the US as one of his happiest, during which he became a fan of American culture, watching Dallas and following the Boston Red Sox.
Between 1978 and 1981, Ed Miliband attended Primrose Hill Primary School in Camden and then from 1981 to 1989, Haverstock Comprehensive School in Chalk Farm. He learned to play the violin while at school, and as a teenager, he reviewed films and plays on LBC Radio's Young London programme as one of its fortnightly "Three O'Clock Reviewers". After completing his O-levels, he worked as an intern to family friend Tony Benn, the MP for Chesterfield.
In 1989, Miliband gained four GCE A-Levels (A in maths, an A in English, and Bs in further maths and physics) and entered Oxford University where he read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Corpus Christi College. In his first year, he was elected JCR President, leading a student campaign against a rise in rent charges. In his second year he dropped philosophy, and was awarded an upper second class Bachelor of Arts degree. He went on to graduate from the London School of Economics with an MSc in Economics.
Early political career
In 1992, after graduating from Oxford, Miliband began his working career in the media as a researcher to co-presenter Andrew Rawnsley in the Channel 4 show A Week in Politics. In 1993, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Harriet Harman approached Rawnsley to recruit Miliband as her policy researcher and speechwriter. At the time, Yvette Cooper also worked for Harman as part of Labour's Shadow Treasury team.
In 1994, when Harriet Harman was moved by the newly elected Labour Leader Tony Blair to become Shadow Secretary of State for Employment, Miliband stayed on in the Shadow Treasury team and was promoted to work for Shadow Chancellor Gordon Brown. In 1995, with encouragement from Gordon Brown, Miliband took time out from his job to study at the London School of Economics, where he obtained an MSc in Economics. After Labour's 1997 landslide victory, Miliband was appointed as a special adviser to Chancellor Gordon Brown from 1997 to 2002.
In early 1999, Miliband was tasked by Gordon Brown to work with Scottish Labour's Election Co-ordinator Douglas Alexander to help overturn the Scottish National Party's opinion poll lead in the run-up to the first devolved Scottish Parliament election. He was intimately involved in the process of building Labour's election manifesto, initially doing so in an informal capacity, until he was spotted leaving the Scottish Labour Party's headquarters on the night that a key policy meeting was held, involving the Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar and senior party officials, to consider the party's election strategy and details of Labour's manifesto. To avoid any perceived conflict of interest, Miliband temporarily resigned from his post as a special adviser at the Treasury to work on the Scottish election campaign full-time. It was reported that also part of Miliband's Scottish election role was to take charge of Labour's media rebuttal operation. Labour went on to become the largest party in the Scottish Parliament following the election.
On 25 July 2002, it was announced that Miliband would take a 12-month unpaid sabbatical from the Treasury to be a visiting scholar at the Centre for European Studies of Harvard University for two semesters. He spent his time at Harvard teaching economics, and stayed there after September 2003 for an additional semester teaching a course titled "What's Left? The Politics of Social Justice". During this time, he was granted "access" to Senator John Kerry and reported to Brown on the Presidential hopeful's progress. After Miliband returned to the UK in January 2004 Gordon Brown appointed him Chairman of HM Treasury's Council of Economic Advisers as a replacement for Ed Balls, with specific responsibility for directing the UK's long-term economic planning.
In early 2005, Miliband resigned from the Treasury to stand for election. Kevin Hughes, then the Labour MP for Doncaster North, announced in February of that year that he would be standing down at the next election due to being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Miliband applied for selection to be the Labour candidate in the safe Labour seat and won, beating off a close challenge from Michael Dugher, then a special adviser to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. Dugher would later become an MP in 2010.
Gordon Brown visited Doncaster North during the general election campaign to support his former adviser. Miliband was elected to Parliament on 5 May 2005, with over 50% of the vote and a majority of 12,656. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 23 May, responding to comments made by future Speaker John Bercow. In Tony Blair's cabinet reshuffle in May 2006, he was made the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, as Minister for the Third Sector, with responsibility for voluntary and charity organisations.
On 28 June 2007, the day after Gordon Brown had become Prime Minister, Miliband was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, being promoted to the Cabinet. This meant that he and his brother, Foreign Secretary David Miliband, became the first brothers to serve in a British Cabinet since Edward and Oliver Stanley in 1938. He was additionally given the task of drafting Labour's manifesto for the next general election.
On 3 October 2008, Miliband was promoted to become Secretary of State for the newly created Department of Energy and Climate Change in a Cabinet reshuffle. On 16 October, Miliband announced that the British government would legislate to oblige itself to cut greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050, rather than the 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions previously announced.
In March 2009, while Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Miliband attended the UK premiere of climate change film The Age of Stupid, where he was ambushed by actor Pete Postlethwaite, who threatened to return his OBE and vote for any party other than Labour if the Kingsnorth coal-fired power station was given the go-ahead by the government. A month later, Miliband announced to the House of Commons a change to the government's policy on coal-fired power stations, saying that any potential new coal-fired power stations would be unable to receive government consent unless they could demonstrate that they would be able to effectively capture and bury 25% of the emissions they produce immediately, with a view to seeing that rise to 100% of emissions by 2025. This, a government source told the Guardian, effectively represented "a complete rewrite of UK energy policy for the future".
Miliband represented the UK at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, from which emerged a global commitment to provide an additional US$10 billion a year to fight the effects of climate change, with an additional $100 billion a year provided by 2020. The conference was not able to achieve a legally binding agreement. Miliband accused China of deliberately foiling attempts at a binding agreement; China explicitly denied this, accusing British politicians of engaging in a "political scheme".
During the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal, Miliband was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the "saints" of the scandal, due to his claiming one of the lowest amounts of expenses in the House of Commons and submitting no claims that later had to be paid back.
Leadership of the Labour Party
Following the formation of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government on 11 May 2010, Gordon Brown resigned as Prime Minister and Leader of the Labour Party with immediate effect. In accordance with the Labour constitution, Deputy Leader Harriet Harman took over as Acting Leader and Leader of the Opposition. On 14 May 2010, following his brother's announcement of his own candidacy the day earlier, Miliband announced that he would stand as a candidate for the leadership of the Labour Party. He launched his campaign during a speech given at a Fabian Society conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies and was nominated by 62 fellow Labour MPs. The other candidates were left-wing backbencher Diane Abbott, Shadow Education Secretary Ed Balls, Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and Miliband's own elder brother, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
On 23 May, former Labour Leader Neil Kinnock announced that he would endorse Ed Miliband's campaign to become the next leader, saying that he had "the capacity to inspire people" and that he had "strong values and the ability to 'lift' people". Other senior Labour figures who backed the younger Miliband included former Deputy Leaders Roy Hattersley and Margaret Beckett. By 9 June, the deadline for entry into the Labour leadership contest, Miliband had been nominated by just over 24% of the Parliamentary Labour Party, double the amount required. By September, Miliband had received the support of six trade unions, including both Unite and UNISON, 151 of the Constituency Labour Parties, three affiliated socialist societies, and half of the Labour MEPs.
Ed Miliband won the election, the result of which was announced on 25 September 2010, after second, third and fourth preferences votes were counted, with the support of 50.654% of the electoral college, defeating his brother by 1.3%. In the fourth and final stage of the redistribution of votes after three candidates had been eliminated, Ed Miliband led in the trade unions and affiliated organisations third of the electoral college (19.93% of the total to David's 13.40%), but in both the MPs and MEPs section (15.52% to 17.81%), and Constituency Labour Party section (15.20% to 18.14%), came second. In the final round, Ed Miliband won with a total of 175,519 votes to David's 147,220 votes.
Leader of the Opposition
On becoming Leader of the Labour Party on 25 September 2010, Miliband also became Leader of the Opposition. At 40, he was the youngest Labour Leader ever. At his first Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) as Labour Leader on 13 October 2010, he raised questions about the government's announced removal of a non-means tested child benefit. During the 2011 military intervention in Libya, Miliband supported UK military action against Muammar Gaddafi. Miliband spoke at a large "March for the Alternative" rally held in London on 26 March 2011 to protest against cuts to public spending, though he was criticised by some for comparing it to the anti-apartheid and American civil rights movements.
A June 2011 poll result from Ipsos MORI found Labour 2 percentage points ahead of the Tories, but Miliband's personal rating was low, being rated as less popular than Iain Duncan Smith at a similar stage in his opposition leadership. The same organisation's polling did find that Miliband's personal ratings in his first full year of leadership were better than David Cameron's during his first full year as Conservative Leader in 2006.
In July 2011, following the revelation that the News of the World had paid private investigators to hack into the mobile phones of Milly Dowler, as well as the families of murder victims and deceased servicemen, Miliband called for News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks to resign, urged David Cameron to establish a public, judge-led inquiry into the scandal, and announced that he would force a Commons vote on whether to block the News International bid for a controlling stake in BSkyB. He also called for the Press Complaints Commission to be abolished – later repeated by Cameron and Nick Clegg – and called into question Cameron's judgement in hiring former News of the World editor Andy Coulson to be his Director of Communications. Cameron later took the unusual step of saying that the government would back Miliband's motion that the BSkyB bid be dropped, and an hour before Miliband's motion was due to be debated, News International announced that it would drop it.
Following the riots in England in August 2011, Miliband called for a public inquiry into the events, and insisted society had "to avoid simplistic answers". The call for a government inquiry was rejected by David Cameron, prompting Miliband to say he would set up his own. In a BBC Radio 4 interview shortly after the riots, Miliband spoke of an irresponsibility that applied not only to the people involved in the riots, but "wherever we find it in our society. We've seen in the past few years...MPs' expenses, what happened in the banks". Miliband also said Labour did not do enough to tackle moral problems during its 13 years in office. In December 2011 Miliband appointed Tim Livesey, a former adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, to be his full-time Chief of Staff.
In his first speech of 2012, Miliband said that if Labour won the next General Election the times would be difficult economically, but Labour was still the only party capable of delivering "fairness". He also said he would tackle "vested interests", citing energy and rail companies. Following the announcement in late January 2012 that the chief executive officer of the nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland, Stephen Hester, would receive a bonus worth £950,000, Miliband called the amount "disgraceful", and urged David Cameron to act to prevent the bonus. Cameron refused, saying it was a matter for the RBS board, leading Miliband to announce that Labour would force a Commons vote on whether or not the government should block it. Hester announced that he would forego his bonus, and Miliband said Labour would carry on with a Commons vote regardless, focusing instead on the bonuses of other RBS executives. Following George Galloway's unexpected win in the March by-election in Bradford West, Miliband announced he would lead an inquiry into the result, saying, it "could not be dismissed as a one-off". In April 2012, in the midst of a debate about the nature of political party funding, Miliband called on David Cameron to institute a £5,000 cap on donations from individuals and organisations to political parties, after it had been suggested that the government favoured a cap of £50,000. On 14 July 2012, Miliband became the first Leader of the Labour Party to attend and address the Durham Miners' Gala in 23 years. In the same month, Miliband became the first British politician to be invited to France to meet the new French President, François Hollande.
On 23 January 2013, Miliband stated that he was against holding a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union because of the economic uncertainty that it would create. On 18 March 2013, Miliband reached a deal with both Cameron and Nick Clegg on new press regulation laws following the Leveson Inquiry, which he said "satisfied the demands of protection for victims and freedom of the press". In August 2013, following the recall of Parliament to discuss an alleged chemical attack in Syria, Miliband announced that Labour would oppose any military intervention on the basis that there was insufficient evidence. David Cameron had been in favour of such action but lost the ensuing vote, making it the first time that a British Prime Minister had been prevented from instigating military action by Parliament since 1956.
At the 2013 Labour Party Conference, Miliband announced that he would freeze energy and fuel prices for 20 months if Labour won the next election, in an attempt to "reset" the energy market, which he described as "broken".
The first election to the Shadow Cabinet that took place under Miliband's leadership was on 7 October 2010. Ending days of speculation, David Miliband announced that he would not seek election to the Shadow Cabinet on 29 September, the day nominations closed, saying he wanted to avoid "constant comparison" with his brother Ed. The three other defeated candidates for the Labour leadership all stood in the election, though Diane Abbott failed to win enough votes to gain a place. Following the election, Miliband unveiled his Shadow Cabinet on 8 October 2010. Among others he appointed Alan Johnson as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Yvette Cooper was chosen as Shadow Foreign Secretary, and both defeated Labour leadership candidates Ed Balls and Andy Burnham were given senior roles, becoming Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Education Secretary respectively. Burnham was also given responsibility for overseeing Labour's election co-ordination. Sadiq Khan, who managed Miliband's successful leadership campaign, was appointed Shadow Justice Secretary and Shadow Lord Chancellor, and continuing Deputy Leader Harriet Harman continued to shadow Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as well as being made Shadow International Development Secretary. Alan Johnson would later resign, stepping down for "personal reasons" on 20 January 2011, necessitating Miliband's first reshuffle, in which he made Balls Shadow Chancellor, Cooper Shadow Home Secretary and Douglas Alexander Shadow Foreign Secretary.
On 24 June 2011, it was reported that Miliband was seeking to change the decades-old rule that Labour's Shadow Cabinet would be elected every two years, instead wanting to adopt a system where he alone had the authority to select its members. Miliband later confirmed the story, claiming that the rule represented "a legacy of Labour's past in opposition". On 5 July 2011, Labour MPs voted overwhelmingly to back the rule change, paving the way for National Executive Committee and Labour Party Conference approval, which was secured in September 2011. This made Miliband the first Labour Leader to have the authority to pick his own Shadow Cabinet. ` On 7 October 2011, Miliband reshuffled his Shadow Cabinet. John Denham, John Healey and Shaun Woodward announced that they were stepping down, while Meg Hillier, Ann McKechin and Baroness Scotland also left the Shadow Cabinet. Veteran MPs Tom Watson, Jon Trickett, Stephen Twigg and Vernon Coaker were promoted to the Shadow Cabinet, as were several of the 2010 intake, including Chuka Umunna, Margaret Curran and Rachel Reeves, with Liz Kendall and Michael Dugher given the right to attend Shadow Cabinet. Lord Wood and Emily Thornberry were also made Shadow Cabinet attendees.
On 15 May 2012, Miliband appointed Owen Smith to replace Peter Hain – who retired from frontline politics – as Shadow Welsh Secretary, and also promoted Jon Cruddas to the Shadow Cabinet, putting him in charge of overseeing Labour's ongoing policy review with a view to draft Labour's manifesto for the next election.
On 4 July 2013, Miliband effectively sacked Tom Watson from the Shadow Cabinet after allegations of corruption over the selection of a Parliamentary candidate for Falkirk. Watson had offered his resignation, but when Miliband was asked by a journalist specifically whether he had sacked Watson, he replied, "...I said it was right for him to go, yes."
On 7 October 2013, Miliband reshuffled his Shadow Cabinet for the third time, saying that this would be the last reshuffle before the general election. In a move similar to his 2011 reshuffle, several MPs from the 2010 intake were promoted, while more long-serving MPs were moved. Tristram Hunt and Rachel Reeves received promotions, while Liam Byrne and Stephen Twigg were among those demoted.
Miliband's first electoral tests as Labour Leader came in the elections to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and various councils across England, excluding London, on 5 May 2011. The results for Labour were described as a "mixed bag", with the party performing well in Wales – falling just one seat short of an overall majority and forming the next Welsh Government on its own – and making large gains from the Liberal Democrats in northern councils, including Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. Results were less encouraging in the south of England, and results in Scotland were described as a "disaster", with Labour losing nine seats to the SNP, which went on to gain the Parliament's first ever majority. Miliband said that following the poor showings in Scotland "lessons must still be learnt".
Miliband launched Labour's campaign for the 2012 local elections with a speech in Birmingham, accusing the government of "betrayal", and claiming that it "lacked the values" that Britain needed. The Labour results were described as a success, with the party building on its performance the previous year in the north of England and Wales, consolidating its position in northern cities and winning control of places such as Cardiff and Swansea. Labour performed well in the Midlands and South of England, winning control of councils including Birmingham, Norwich, Plymouth and Southampton. Labour was less successful in Scotland than England and Wales, but retained control of Glasgow despite predictions it would not. Overall, Labour gained over 800 councillors and control of 22 councils.
In April 2013, Miliband pledged ahead of the upcoming county elections that Labour would change planning laws to give local authorities greater authority to decide what shops can open in their high streets. He also said that Labour would introduce more strenuous laws relating to pay-day lenders and betting shops. Labour subsequently gained nearly 300 councillors, as well as control of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils.
Policies and views
Miliband has described himself as a new type of Labour politician, looking to move beyond the divisiveness of Blairism and Brownism, and calling for an end to the "factionalism and psychodramas" of Labour's past. He has also repeatedly spoken of the requirement for a "new politics". During the Labour leadership campaign, he described himself as a socialist, and has spoken out against some of the actions of the Blair government, including criticising its record on civil liberties and stating that he would not have backed the Iraq War. He called for "responsible capitalism" when Google's Eric Schmidt commented on his corporation's non-payment of tax. Though he was not in Parliament at the time of the 2003 vote, he remains a strong critic of the Iraq War. He has backed UK military action and intervention in Afghanistan and Libya respectively.
He also supported making the UK's 50% top rate of tax permanent, as well as the institution of a new financial transaction tax, mutualising Northern Rock, putting limits on top salaries, scrapping tuition fees in favour of a graduate tax, implementing a living wage policy and the scrapping of the ID cards policy, and has spoken in favour of a "National Care Service".
Ed Miliband has worked closely with the think tank Policy Network on the concept of pre-distribution as a means to tackle what he has described as 'the growing crisis in living standards'. His announcement that pre-distribution would become a cornerstone of the UK Labour Party's economic policy was jokingly mocked by Prime Minister David Cameron during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.
Though Labour remained officially neutral, he in a personal capacity supported the ultimately unsuccessful "Yes to AV" campaign in the Alternative Vote referendum on 5 May 2011, saying that it would benefit Britain's "progressive majority". In September 2011, Miliband stated that a future Labour Government would immediately cut the cap on tuition fees for university students from £9,000 per year to £6,000, though he also stated that he remained committed to a graduate tax in the long-run. Together with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Miliband has also promoted a "five-point plan for jobs and growth" aimed at helping the UK economy, involving extending the bonus tax on banks pioneered by Alistair Darling, bringing forward planned long-term investment to help reduce unemployment, cutting the rate of VAT from 20% back to 17.5%, cutting VAT on home improvements to 5% for a temporary one year period, and instigating a one-year national insurance break to encourage employers to hire more staff. Miliband has also endorsed the Blue Labour trend in the Labour Party, founded by Maurice Glasman. Blue Labour talks about family and friendships at the heart of society, rather than just material wealth; it also offers a very strong critique of the free-market as well as the big state. This was seen to have influenced his 2011 conference speech, signalling "predatory and productive capitalism".
In March 2012 Miliband pledged his support for same sex marriage. As he signed an 'equal marriage pledge', he said, "I strongly agree gay and lesbian couples should have an equal right to marry and deserve the same recognition from the state and society as anyone else." In June 2013, Miliband announced that the "hard reality" meant a future Labour Government would not be able to borrow money to reverse all cuts in government spending.
In June 2014, speaking before Labour Friends of Israel, he said that, if elected as prime minister, he would seek closer ties with Israel. However, he also said that as a Jew and friend of Israel, he must also criticise Israel when necessary. He said that Cameron should have opposed Israel's incursion into Gaza, and opposed the "killing of innocent Palestinian civilians." He also called Hamas a terrorist organisation, and criticised its "wholly unjustified rocket attacks."
Comments on other politicians
Ed Miliband has criticised Conservative Leader and Prime Minister David Cameron for "sacrificing everything on the altar of deficit reduction", and has accused him of being guilty of practising "old politics", citing alleged broken promises on areas such as crime, policing, bank bonuses, and child benefit.
Miliband has also been particularly critical of Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg following the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement, accusing him of "betrayal" and of "selling-out" his party's voters. He has also stated that he would demand the resignation of Nick Clegg as a precursor to any future Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition. In the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum, Miliband refused to share a platform with Clegg, stating that he had become "too toxic" a brand, and that he would harm the "Yes to AV" campaign. He shared platforms during the campaign with former Liberal Democrat Leaders Lord Ashdown and Charles Kennedy, as well as current Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Simon Hughes, the Green Party's former leader Caroline Lucas and Business Secretary Vince Cable, among others. Since becoming Labour leader, Miliband has made speeches aimed at winning over disaffected Liberal Democrats, identifying a difference between the "Orange Book" Lib Dems who were closer to the Conservatives and Lib Dems who were on the centre-left, offering the latter a role in helping Labour's policy review. Following the death of former Prime Minister and Conservative Leader Margaret Thatcher in 2013, Miliband spoke in a House of Commons sitting specially convened to pay tributes to her. He noted that, although he disagreed with a few of her policies, he respected "what her death means to the many, many people who admired her". He also said that Thatcher "broke the mould" in everything she had achieved in her life, and that she had had the ability to "overcome every obstacle in her path". He had previously praised Thatcher shortly before the Labour Party Conference in September 2012 for creating an "era of aspiration" in the 1980s.
Ed Miliband has previously spoken positively of his brother David, praising his record as Foreign Secretary, and saying that "his door was always open" following David's decision not to stand for the Shadow Cabinet in 2010. Upon David's announcement in 2013 that he would resign as a Labour MP and move to New York to head the International Rescue Committee, Miliband said that British politics would be "a poorer place" without him, and that he thought David "would once again make a contribution to British public life."
When asked to choose the greatest British Prime Minister, Miliband answered with Labour's post-war Prime Minister and longest-serving Leader, Clement Attlee. He has also spoken positively of his two immediate predecessors as Labour leader, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, praising their leadership and records in government.
Miliband is married to a barrister, Justine Thornton. The pair met in 2002 and lived together in North London before becoming engaged in March 2010 and married in May 2011. They have two sons, Daniel, born 2009, and Samuel, born 2010.
Ed Miliband is of Jewish heritage - the first Jewish leader of the Labour Party—and describes himself as a Jewish atheist. After marrying Thornton in a civil ceremony on 27 May 2011, he paid tribute to his Jewish heritage by following the tradition of breaking a glass. In 2012, Miliband wrote, "Like many others from Holocaust families, I have a paradoxical relationship with this history. On one level I feel intimately connected with it – this happened to my parents and grandparents. On another, it feels like a totally different world."
|Ed Miliband’s decision to oppose military action against Syria is an action of statesmanship of which Britons will be proud||Article||28 August 2013||Michael Meacher||It is all very well to rush to war in a surge of moral outrage, it is quite another to spell out clearly what are the war objectives and how exactly they are to be achieved.|
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