An aide to David Miliband, who was narrowly beaten in the battle to become Labour leader by his younger sibling, said he hadn’t decided whether to put his name forward for elections to the shadow cabinet.
It had been assumed that the elder Miliband would agree to serve under his brother if he failed to win the crown, but yesterday his campaign team rowed back from that position.
“He doesn’t have to decide until Wednesday at 5pm, when nominations for shadow cabinet close,” said one. “He won’t make a decision until shortly before then.”
Sources close to the new Labour leader said he thinks shadow chancellor is the only job David Miliband can accept without losing face.
However, the brothers’ differing opinions on deficit reduction could cause difficulty. David Miliband agrees with Alistair Darling’s proposal to cut the deficit in half within four years, whereas his younger brother says that this is a plan that needs to be improved.
If David Miliband decides to reject the job offer, most think that Ed Balls, the former schools secretary and Brown ally, will get the major economic brief.
But sources within the Ed Miliband camp were yesterday talking up the chances of Yvette Cooper, the former pensions secretary and Balls’ wife.
Former cabinet ministers like Tessa Jowell and Alan Johnson – two of the remaining Blairites – will also be strong contenders for big jobs, in a bid to unify the right and left of the party. Newer faces like David Lammy, Sadiq Khan and John Healey are also under consideration.
ANALYSIS | SHADOW CABINET ODDS
Ed Balls 49%
Yvette Cooper 37%
David Miliband 35%
SHADOW FOREIGN SECRETARY
David Miliband 52.35%
Yvette Cooper 24%
Alan Johnson 10%
SHADOW HOME SECRETARY
Andy Burnham 35%
Ed Balls 35%
Alan Johnson 15%
*odds from Smarkets