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The Right Honourable
 David Miliband 

Assumed office 
28 June 2007
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Margaret Beckett

In office
5 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Margaret Beckett
Succeeded by Hilary Benn

In office
5 May 2005 – 5 May 2006
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by Ruth Kelly

Member of Parliament
for South Shields
Assumed office 
7 June 2001
Preceded by David Clark
Majority 12,312 (41%)

Born 15 July 1965 (1965-07-15) (age 44)
London, England, UK
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Louise Shackelton
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Religion Atheism[1]

David Wright Miliband (born 15 July 1965) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for South Shields since 2001, and is the current Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He is the son of the late Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband. He and his younger brother Ed Miliband are the first siblings to sit in the Cabinet simultaneously since Edward, Lord Stanley and his brother Oliver in 1938.

Born in London, Miliband studied politics at universities both in England and the USA, and started his career as a policy analyst at the Institute for Public Policy Research. At 29, Miliband became Tony Blair's Head of Policy whilst the Labour Party was then in opposition and was a major contributor to Labour's manifesto for the 1997 general election which brought the party to power. Blair made him head of the Prime Minister's Policy Unit from 1997 to 2001, following which Miliband was elected to parliament for the north-east England seat of South Shields.

Miliband spent the next several years in various junior ministerial posts in the British Government, including at the Department for Education and Skills, before becoming Environment Secretary. His tenure in this post saw climate change consolidated as a priority for UK policymakers. On the succession of Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, Miliband was promoted to Foreign Secretary, at 41, the youngest person to hold the position in 30 years.


Early life

Born in London, David Miliband is the elder son of Jewish immigrants Marion Kozak, from Poland, and the late Marxist intellectual Ralph Miliband, who fled Belgium during World War II.[2][3] He has said "I am the child of Jewish immigrants and that is a very important part of my identity."[3] Both his Polish Jewish paternal grandparents lived in the Jewish quarter of Warsaw. His paternal grandfather, Samuel, a trained leather worker, fought for the Red Army in the Polish–Soviet War of 1919-1921 before moving to Belgium.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] His paternal grandmother, Renia (later known as Renée), also moved to Belgium, where she first met Sam, with the couple marrying in 1923.[11] Hitler’s invasion of Belgium in May 1940 as part of the Nazis’ Western Offensive split the Miliband family in half: Ralph and father Samuel fled to England, while Ralph's mother Renée and baby sister Nan stayed behind for the duration of the war. They were not reunited until 1950.[12] During his visit in Poland in June 2009, Miliband visited his family tomb in the Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw. He also stated, that he is 'one of the million Britons who have Polish blood'.[13][14]

David Miliband attended schools in London, Benton Park School in Leeds and Boston, Massachusetts before being educated at Haverstock Comprehensive School in North London. He was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Oxford despite only achieving three B grades and a D in his A-level exams, but went on to obtain a first class honours degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.[15] From 1988 to 1989 he took an S.M. degree in Political Science at MIT, where he was a Kennedy Scholar.[16]

Political biography

Miliband's first job was for the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. From 1989 to 1994, he worked as a Research Fellow and policy analyst at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). He was appointed Secretary of the IPPR's Commission on Social Justice upon its foundation in 1992 by the then leader of the Labour Party, John Smith.[17] In 1994 Miliband became Tony Blair's Head of Policy and was a major contributor to Labour's manifesto for the 1997 general election. After Labour's victory in that election, Blair made him the de facto Head of the Prime Minister's Policy Unit, a position which he held until the 2001 election. He was given the nickname "Brains" by Alastair Campbell, after the Thunderbirds character.[18] In the 2001 general election he was elected to Parliament for the Labour stronghold of South Shields. After a year as a backbench MP he was appointed Schools Minister, a junior minister in the Department for Education and Skills in June 2002. On 15 December 2004, in the reshuffle following the resignation of David Blunkett, he replaced Ruth Kelly as a Cabinet Office Minister.

Following Labour's third consecutive election victory in May 2005, he was promoted to the Cabinet as Minister of State for Communities and Local Government within the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. This was a newly created cabinet-level post with responsibility for housing, planning, regeneration and local government. Because the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, was the Departmental Minister officially in charge of these portfolios, Miliband was not given the title Secretary of State but he was appointed a Privy Councillor and became a full member of the Cabinet.[19]

Secretary of State at Defra

On 5 May 2006 following the local elections Tony Blair made a major cabinet reshuffle in which Miliband replaced Margaret Beckett as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.[20] Miliband has said he believes agriculture is important for the UK’s cultural heritage, economy and society and also for the environment. He has said disease control should be balanced with animal welfare. He attaches importance to reaching a “fair balance” among consumers, farmers, manufacturers and retailers. Miliband also believes the European Union and the World Trade Organisation affect power relations between British and foreign farmers.[21]

He was the first British cabinet member to have a blog, though claims of excessive cost to taxpayer provoked some controversy.[22] In January 2007 Miliband sparked minor controversy by saying there was no evidence organic food was better than conventionally grown produce, though he later clarified he was referring specifically to health benefits.[23]

Miliband is an advocate for international awareness of climate change and believes the cooperation of all nations is needed for environmental reform. Miliband's focuses include food retail waste management and greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural industries. He believes that the EU should go further in two areas: a low carbon global economy and global action on climate change. He also wants Europe to increase its economic competitiveness. By switching over to a low carbon economy, he plans to tackle climate change. He hopes to ensure a stable price on energy by securing an energy source and announced the Government's plans to legislate for carbon reductions at the United Nations General Assembly.[24]

In August 2006, in an effort to put environmental reform into action, Miliband developed a place for a collaborative "environmental contract" to be developed on a Defra Wiki site. It was subsequently linked to by blogger Paul Staines, and mocked, after which further edits by guest users were temporarily prevented.[25] Miliband's emphasis on the necessity of an entirely cooperative effort to effectively instigate a low carbon lifestyle worldwide has led him to advocate an open dialogue among citizens about environmental issues through web-based blogging.[26] Whilst Environment Secretary, Miliband called for all 27 nations of the European Union to unify in backing proposals to cut harmful emissions by 30% by 2020.[27]

Miliband has floated the idea of every citizen being issued with a "Carbon Credit Card" to improve personal carbon thrift. Miliband claims individuals have to be empowered to tackle global warming — "the mass mobilising movement of our age".[28]

Foreign Secretary

On 28 June 2007, the day after Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, Miliband was appointed Foreign Secretary. He is Britain's third youngest Foreign Secretary and the youngest person to be appointed to the post since David Owen (in office 21 February 1977 – 4 May 1979). Anthony Eden assumed office at the age of 37 in 1935. David's younger brother, the economist Ed Miliband, is the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, making them the first siblings to serve together in Cabinet since Edward, Lord Stanley and his brother Oliver in 1938.

Miliband with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, February 2009.

Miliband's first Foreign Office questions session as Foreign Secretary in the House of Commons was on the 3 July 2007.[29] On the morning of 13 December 2007, Miliband stood in for Prime Minister, Gordon Brown at the official signing ceremony in Lisbon of the EU Reform Treaty, which was attended by all other European heads of government. Brown was otherwise engaged at the House of Commons, appearing before the Liaison Committee, and travelled to Portugal to sign the treaty in the afternoon.[30]

On 5 February 2009, Miliband made a statement to the House of Commons concerning Guantanamo Bay detainee and former British resident Benyam Mohammed.[31] A week later Mohamed’s American lawyer Yvonne Bradley flew to Britain to urge the Foreign Office to press harder for his release. On 23 February 2009, Benyam Mohammed returned to Britain and was granted temporary residence.[32][33]

European Foreign Minister

The Treaty of Lisbon creates the post of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, a post commonly known as the European Foreign Minister. In autumn 2009 as the Treaty came close to entering into force, Miliband was named as being under consideration for the post as EU officials regarded him as "ideal material".[34] Miliband publicly insisted that he was not available to fill the post, as he was committed to remaining in the British cabinet.[35]

Labour Party

Miliband has emphasised a generational division between himself and Blairites such as John Reid, Alan Milburn, Stephen Byers, John Hutton and Peter Mandelson, who are long-standing critics of prime minister Gordon Brown. Miliband is one of the "Primrose Hill Gang", a loose network of young Labour politicians and advisers that supposedly look beyond Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for the future of the Labour Party. Other members of the group include Miliband's brother Ed Miliband, Douglas Alexander, Pat McFadden, James Purnell, Jim Murphy, Andy Burnham, Matthew Taylor, Geoff Mulgan and Patrick Diamond.

Miliband could be seen as a leader of a different set of "next generation" Blairite Ministers—a "Blairites for Brown" group—whom political commentators usually identify as David Miliband, Andy Burnham, James Purnell and Liam Byrne, several of whom have already prospered under Brown. There is reported to be little difference between this group and Brownites of the same generation, notably Ed Miliband, and the husband and wife ministerial couple of Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper.

Miliband's support for Brown has been seen as an effort among his generation to prevent the Blairite/Brownite division continuing as some Labour party members see this division as having been more a product of personal historic rivalries arising from the 1994 leadership deal, rather than limited policy differences over public services. Political commentator Andrew Rawnsley of The Observer wrote in 2002 that "He is on the Left of the New Labour spectrum. He is a believer—in a way that Blair is not entirely—in Continental social democracy".[18]

Leadership contender

On July 29, 2008, Miliband wrote an article in The Guardian which outlined his vision of a future of the Labour Party but made no mention of Gordon Brown.[36] The piece was widely interpreted as a leadership challenge to the Prime Minister; not least because the timing of its publication – just after Brown's departure on holiday at the start of the parliamentary summer recess, and while there was intense speculation about his continuing leadership following Labour's defeat in the Glasgow East by-election the previous week – seemed designed to produce a large political impact. In the following days two Labour MPs called on Brown to sack Miliband for his perceived disloyalty. Miliband, while refuting claims by his detractors that he was seeking to provoke an early leadership election, did not rule himself out of eventually running for the leadership of the party. Many grassroots supporters believe a Miliband-led Labour Party would tackle the Conservatives more effectively, reaching out to voters in marginal seats as well as securing Labour's core support.[37][38]


Comments over terrorism

In August 2009, Miliband was a guest on BBC Radio 4's Great Lives programme, choosing South African politician Joe Slovo.[39] Miliband stated during the programme, in a response to a question about terrorism, that "yes there are circumstances in which it is justifiable and yes there are circumstances in which it is effective, but it is never effective on its own". These comments attracted considerable opprobrium from senior political figures.[40]

India trip

After his India trip in 2008 post the Mumbai attacks, Miliband wrote in an article that "resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms, and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders".[41] This sparked an angry response from the Indian government, whose long standing policy had been to not accept any third party involvement in the dispute of Kashmir. Some also suggested that his tone implied that India must shoulder some of the responsibility because of its policies in Kashmir.[42] Some reports also said that Miliband's tone towards the Indian Prime Minister and the Finance Minister had been aggressive, and that he had been excused for being a "young man".[43]

Sri Lanka ceasefire

During the latter stages of the Sri Lankan Army's 2008/09 offensive against the LTTE, Miliband headed to Sri Lanka to press the government to call a ceasefire with the Tamil Tigers, citing concerns for civilians caught in the crossfire.[44] Miliband's visit was met with protests by Sri Lankan nationalists, who accused Miliband of attempting to save the lives of Tamil Tiger militants.[45] During the victory celebrations that took place a few weeks later, a burning effigy of Miliband was reported to have been tossed over the gate of the British High Commission in Colombo.[46]

Expenses claims

The Daily Telegraph's investigation of expenses claims by Members of Parliament reported that Miliband had claimed for gardening expenses and approximately £30,000 in repairs, decorations, and furnishings for his constituency home in South Shields. A spokesperson said: "At every stage, David Miliband followed the procedures and rules as laid out by the parliamentary authorities".[47]

Personal life

His wife, Louise Shackelton, is a violinist with the London Symphony Orchestra.[48] Shackelton and Miliband have adopted two sons in the United States: the first in December 2004 and the second in October 2007.[49]

In an interview with CNN in 2009, Miliband stated that he has a Jewish background, grew up secular, and is an atheist.[1]


Miliband has edited two books:

  • Paying for Inequality: Economic Cost of Social Justice (edited with Andrew Glyn), Rivers Oram Press, 1994, ISBN 978-1-85-489059-7
  • Reinventing the Left, Polity Press, 1994, ISBN 978-0-74-561391-8


  1. ^ a b "Interview With David Miliband". CNN. July 5, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Latest news". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  3. ^ a b "Being Jewish must have an influence on the way I think. I am the child of Jewish immigrants and that is a very important part of my identity." - from Josephs, Bernard (2006-12-22). "David Miliband: Red to green in a generation". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  4. ^ "Ralph Miliband : Biography". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  5. ^ "Glossary of People: Mi". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  6. ^ Luke Harding. "Luke Harding: Moscow diary | World news". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  7. ^ "Russia and the West: A Dialogue of the Deaf". The Brussels Journal. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  8. ^ Porter, Andrew (2008-09-09). "David Miliband four-letter abuse from Russian foreign minister – Telegraph Blogs". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  9. ^ "Polskie Radio Londyn - Polish Radio London - Radio Orla - Polskie Radio w Londynie". Radio Orla. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  10. ^ M. Newman, Ralph Miliband and the politics of the New Left, 2002, p. 5
  11. ^ M. Newman, ibid, p. 5
  12. ^ "Biographies: Lipman, Miliband & Saville". the lipman-miliband trust. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-22. 
  13. ^ Kamil Tchorek. "David Miliband visits family grave in Poland". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  14. ^ "European renewal amidst global adversity (23/06/2009)". Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 23 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  15. ^ "A Levels discussed". BBC. 17 August 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  16. ^ "David Miliband Biography". Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  17. ^ "Commission on Social Justice". IPPR. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  18. ^ a b "Heir to Blair?". The Observer. 20 October 2002.,,815389,00.html. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  19. ^ "Privy Council Members". Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  20. ^ "Reshuffle seeks to rejuvenate". BBC. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  21. ^ "Speech by the Rt Hon. David Miliband MP - "One planet farming" at the Royal Agricultural Show, Monday 3 July 2006". Defra. 4 July 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  22. ^ "£40,000 - the real cost of reading David's diary". The Independent. 16 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-27.  "Written Parliamentary Question on cost of blog". Hansard. 16 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-11. 
  23. ^ "Miliband questions organic quality". 7 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-02.  See also: "Making the Most of Organic Food". Defra. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  24. ^ Miliband, David (6 June 2007). "Greening the American Dream".  See also: United Nations General Assembly Verbatim Report meeting 9 session 62 page 45, Mr. Miliband United Kingdom on 27 September 2007 (retrieved 2007-11-12)
  25. ^ "Wiki Wickedness". Global & General Nominees LLC. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  26. ^ "Defra website". 
  27. ^ "'Now or never' for climate action". BBC News. 18 February 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  28. ^ "Carbon 'credit card' considered". BBC. 11 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  29. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster. "". Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  30. ^ "Miliband plays stand-in at lavish EU relaunch".,,2227505,00.html. 
  31. ^ "Miliband statement on Benyam Mohammed". 2009-02-05. 
  32. ^ "Freed detainee 'happy to be home'". The BBC. February 23rd, 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Military lawyer who freed Mohamed". The BBC. February 24, 2009. Retrieved December 26, 2009. 
  34. ^ Patrick Hennessy, Bruno Waterfield, "... or it could be Miliband, the EU international overlord", The Sunday Telegraph, 11 October 2009, p. 8.
  35. ^ Nigel Morris, "Miliband 'will stay in government'", The Independent, 2 November 2009, p. 8.
  36. ^ "Against all odds we can still win, on a platform for change". The Guardian. July 29, 2008. Retrieved August 2, 2008. 
  37. ^ "Miliband calms leadership talk". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  38. ^ "Miliband denies 'leadership' bid". 30 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  39. ^ "Radio 4 Programmes - Great Lives, Series 19, Joe Slovo". BBC. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  40. ^ Hélène Mulholland and agencies. "Miliband attacked over terrorism comments". Guardian. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  41. ^ Logged in as click here to log out. "The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  42. ^ Logged in as click here to log out. "The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  43. ^ "The Independent". The Independent. 2009-01-18. Retrieved 2010-03-16. 
  44. ^ "David Miliband heads to Sri Lanka to urge ceasefire". London. 
  45. ^ "Monks protest Miliband visit". 
  46. ^ "Effigy of David Miliband burnt on streets of Sri Lankan capital". London. 
  47. ^ Prince, Rosa (2009-05-08). "Daily Telegraph: David Miliband". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  48. ^ Miliband makes his mark, Vivienne Russell,
  49. ^ "Blair's lieutenant adopts American baby". FamilyKB. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-15.  "David Miliband adopts second son". BBC News Online. 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Clark
Member of Parliament for South Shields
Political offices
Preceded by
Stephen Timms
Minister of State for Schools
Succeeded by
Stephen Twigg
New creation Minister of State for Communities and Local Government
Succeeded by
Ruth Kelly
as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Preceded by
Margaret Beckett
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Succeeded by
Hilary Benn
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Simple English

File:David Miliband, Davos
David Miliband was the Foreign Secretary 2007-2010

David Wright Miliband (born 15 July 1965) is a British politician who was the Foreign Secretary from June 2007 to May 2010 and a member of Tony Blair's cabinet. He is the Member of Parliament for South Shields.

David Miliband was born in London, and is the elder brother of Labour leader Ed Miliband. He was educated at the University of Oxford and was the head of the Number 10 Policy Unit from 1997-2001. He was first elected in the 2001 general election. After being part of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's governments, Miliband was a candidate in the 2010 Labour leadership contest. Despite Miliband being favourite to win the contest, his brother Ed narrowly won the contest. Miliband chose not to be a member of Ed's shadow cabinet.

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