POLITICS

Ed Miliband Interviews Brother David On Radio Two In First Public Conversation Since 2010

Siblings don't discuss their rivalry, elections or the Labour Party. Funny, that.

23/06/2017 16:20 BST

The Miliband brothers have had a frosty relationship since Ed unexpectedly seized the Labour leadership in 2010, denying David the chance to realise pundits’ claims he was a prime minister in waiting.  

On Friday, they were not speaking.

But this time the breakdown in communication had nothing to do with old grudges.

The pair’s London-to-New York phone connection broke up during a live BBC Radio 2 phone interview.

The symbolism was not lost on people.

Ed was standing in for the usual mid-morning show presenter Jeremy Vine.

His brother, who eventually quit Parliament in 2013 to lead the International Rescue Committee, had agreed to an interview.

In their first joint public outing since Ed beat David in the 2010 leadership election, the two discussed their family history and the global refugee crisis, but not their relationship - which is reported to have been strained over the last seven years - or the Labour Party. 

PA Wire/PA Images
David and Ed in 2010, more harmonious times

David was scathing about Theresa May’s decision to close the Dubs scheme – intended to grant 3,000 vulnerable unaccompanied refugee minors a safe passage to Britain – after accepting just 350.

He also called on the Prime Minister to accept 25,000 refugees a year - four times the current pledge of 5,000 -  25 refugees per UK parliamentary constituency as opposed to just six.

“We all have to step up,” he said. “The numbers that we can welcome to our own countries are relatively small in comparison to the millions that have been displaced, but it’s vital because it sets an example.

“No one is going to persuade me that eight people arriving in South Shields is going to overwhelm the local system. I think that 25,000 refugees would be more in line with the UN. That would be a substantive contribution.”

He said refusing to help risked fuelling Isis “propaganda”.

He added: “People look to Britain, not just for a big heart but for a strong head and in world where religious division is being used all round as a tool to pit communities against each other, when countries like Britain or America or Canada stand up and say they are keen to resettle refugees of all religions because we’re determined not to fall into the trapped of the so-called clash of civilisations, it sends a very important message.” 

PA Wire/PA Images
Theresa May should be doing more to help refugees, said David Miliband

“It’s a tragic thing to say, but when Daesh or Isis’ social media channels were celebrating when President Trump issued his executive orders trying to reduce the number of refugees coming to America. 

“It’s a propaganda gift for those that really would do harm.” 

The two brothers began to discuss the story of their Polish-born mother Marion Miliband, who fled the Nazis during the Second World War.

But it was then that the phone line broke up and the pair began to lose touch. 

PA Archive/PA Images
David Miliband was cut off

“I think we are suffering with a big of 1980s technology combined with 21st Century technology here,” David could be heard to say.

Ed eventually had to end the interview.

“Dave, we are going to have to stop there, partly because the line is going. I will see you very soon,” said Ed, before switching to some music.

David and Ed both fought the 2010 Labour leadership battle. Ed won by just 1% of the vote on final preferences.

Ed went on to lose the 2015 General Election and remains MP for Doncaster North.