Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Ed Miliband

File:Ed Miliband on August 27, 2010 cropped-an less red-2.jpg 

Edward Samuel Miliband (born 24 December 1969) is a British Labour Party politician, currently Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for the South Yorkshire constituency of Doncaster North since 2005 and served in the Cabinet from 2007 to 2010 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Born in London, Miliband graduated from 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.
As Prime Minister, Gordon Brown appointed Miliband as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 28 June 2007. He was subsequently promoted to the new post of Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, a position he held from 3 October 2008 to 12 May 2010. On 25 September 2010, he was elected Leader of the Labour Party

Background and early life

Born in London, Miliband is the younger son of Polish Jewish immigrants. His mother, Marion Kozak, survived the Holocaust thanks to being protected by Roman Catholic Poles. His father Ralph Miliband was a Marxist and Brussels native whose parents were from Warsaw, Poland, and fled Belgium to the UK during World War II. As a teenager, he reviewed films and plays on LBC Radio's Young London programme as one of its "Three O'Clock Reviewers", and worked as an intern to Tony Benn.


Miliband was educated at Primrose Hill Primary School, Camden and then Haverstock Comprehensive School in Chalk Farm, North London. He was a violinist at school. After completing his A Levels, Miliband read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, taking a Bachelor of Arts, followed by the London School of Economics, where he obtained a Masters in Economics.

Political biography

After a brief career in television journalism, Miliband became a speechwriter and researcher for Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Harriet Harman in 1993, and then for Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown the following year. In 1997, following Labour's landslide election victory, Miliband was appointed as one of Gordon Brown's special advisers with specific responsibility as a speechwriter.
In 1999, Miliband was involved in the process of building Labour's manifesto for the forthcoming Scottish Parliament elections. 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. As a result, Miliband resigned from his post as Special Adviser at the Treasury, to work on the Scottish election campaign. It was reported that part of Miliband's Scottish role was to take charge of Labour's rebuttal operation.


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 teaching a course titled "What's Left? The Politics of Social Justice". He was granted "access" to Senator John Kerry and reported to Brown on the Presidential hopeful's progress. In January 2004 he was appointed chairman of HM Treasury's Council of Economic Advisers, directing the UK's long-term economic planning.

In government

In early 2005, Miliband resigned from the Treasury to stand for election. He beat off a challenge from Michael Dugher, then a special advisor to Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, to be the Labour candidate in the safe Labour seat of Doncaster North. Gordon Brown visited Doncaster North during the general election campaign to support his former adviser. Miliband was elected to Parliament on 5 May. In Tony Blair's cabinet reshuffle in May 2006, he was made the Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office.
In June 2007, when Brown became Prime Minister, Miliband was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and promoted to the Cabinet. This meant that he and his brother David Miliband became the first brothers to serve in Cabinet since Edward and Oliver Stanley in 1938. He was given the task of drafting Labour's manifesto for the next general election.

On 3 October 2008, Miliband was promoted to 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.
Whilst Secretary of State, Miliband attended The Age of Stupid UK premiere where he was ambushed by 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 the Government announced a change to its policy on coal - no new coal-fired power station will get government consent unless it can capture and bury 25% of the emissions it produces immediately - and 100% of emissions by 2025. This, a source told The Guardian, represented “a complete rewrite of UK energy policy”.

Copenhagen Summit 2009

Miliband represented the UK at the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, from which emerged a global commitment to provide an additional $10bn a year to fight the effects of climate change, with an additional $100bn 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".

Parliamentary expenses

During 2009, Miliband was named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the "saints" of the expenses scandal, for claiming one of the lowest amounts of expenses in the House of Commons, despite being entitled to more than the average MP because of his role as Secretary of State.

Leadership of the Labour Party

Leadership election

Following the formation of the coalition government on 11 May 2010, Gordon Brown resigned as Leader of the Labour Party with immediate effect, with Deputy Leader Harriet Harman taking over as acting leader. On 14 May 2010, following his brother's announcement of his own candidacy, 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 Diane Abbott, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and his elder brother David Miliband.
On 23 May, former Labour Leader Neil Kinnock announced that he would endorse 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 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.
He won the election, the result of which was announced on 25 September 2010, after third and fourth preferences votes were counted, with the support of 50.654% of the electoral college, defeating his brother by 1.3%.

Leader of the Opposition

On becoming leader of the Labour Party on 25 September 2010, Miliband also became Leader of the Opposition. At the age of 40, he was the youngest Labour Leader since World War II. He had his first Prime Minister's Questions as Labour Leader on 13 October 2010, raising questions about the government's announced removal of a non-means tested child benefit. In the months following Miliband's election, Labour overtook the Conservatives in opinion polls for the first time since 2007. During the 2011 military intervention in Libya, Miliband supported UK military action against Colonel 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.

Shadow Cabinet

Following the election on 7 October 2010, Miliband appointed his Shadow Cabinet on 8 October 2010. Amongst others he appointed Alan Johnson as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ed Balls became Shadow Home Secretary and Yvette Cooper was chosen as Shadow Foreign Secretary. Following Johnson's decision to step down for "personal reasons" on 20 January 2011, Miliband conducted his first reshuffle, making Balls Shadow Chancellor, Cooper Shadow Home Secretary and appointing Douglas Alexander as Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Political positions

Miliband has been described by observers as a left-of-centre, social democratic politician. He has made calls for the UK to adopt a "capitalism that works for the people". He is a strong critic of the Iraq War. He also backs gay marriage, supports making the UK's 50p top rate of tax permanent, as well as the institution of a new financial transition 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 ID cards.. He has launched Labour's "Yes to AV" campaign in the UKs Alternative Vote Referendum on May 2011, saying that it will benefit Britain's "progressive majority".

Personal life

Miliband's partner is Justine Thornton, a Cambridge-educated barrister. They met in 2002, and live together in North London. The couple were engaged in March 2010, and intend to marry on 27 May 2011. They have two sons – Daniel Miliband, born 2009, and Samuel Miliband, born 2010. Miliband is Jewish, but not religious.

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