1. ITV Report

Ed Miliband: My relationship with David has not recovered

Ed Miliband has acknowledged that his relationship with brother David has still not fully recovered. Photo:

Ed Miliband has said that his relationship with brother David has not yet fully recovered, more than three years after they fought one another for the Labour leadership.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, the Labour leader was asked if his relationship with former foreign secretary David was now "healed"."Healing," he replied.

Ed Miliband beat his elder brother by the narrowest of margins in the 2010 contest.

Despite the strain it has put on the brothers' bond, Mr Miliband insisted he had no regrets about any of the "big decisions" in his life, and described David as his "best friend".

Ed Miliband being congratulated by his brother David when it was announced he had won the race for Labour leader. Credit: PA

But he told presenter Kirsty Young: "It has been incredibly tough - really, really tough. I didn't take this decision lightly. I knew it would have an impact on my family and on him.

What I thought was 'This is going to be hard, but I have got things to say and things to do which I am in a better place than him or others to say and do about the way we need to move on from New Labour and things that need to happen in the country'.

– Ed Miliband

Mr Miliband said that he had "not really" spoken to David - long seen as the heir apparent to Gordon Brown - about the leadership before he announced his decision to stand.

"We had conversations, but they were probably quite elliptical conversations," he said. "We probably danced around it a bit because neither of us was desperate to confront it, I suppose. We didn't have a total heart-to-heart about it."

Mr Miliband admitted that he probably under-estimated the impact his decision to challenge David would have on his family, and said he could "understand" voters who accused him of putting party loyalties ahead of family loyalties.

Some of Ed Miliband's Desert Island Discs choices:

  • Angels by Robbie Williams - to remind him of watching the Live8 concert with Justine 'when we were falling in love'
  • A-Ha's Take On Me - the song he danced to at school discos wearing an 'extremely bad pair of white trousers and purple jumper'
  • Paul Robeson's rendition of left-wing anthem The Ballad of Joe Hill in memory of his father
  • His choice of book was Douglas Adams' sci-fi comedy classic The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

But he said he still speaks regularly to David, who refused to serve under him in the shadow cabinet and quit Parliament in April to become president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in New York.

"We discussed him serving in the shadow cabinet or not on and off over a period, and in the end he said 'I want to lead an organisation, that's what I feel I need the freedom to do in my own way'," said Mr Miliband. "And he is leading the IRC and he seems incredibly exhilarated to be doing it, and I'm very pleased about that."

Ed Miliband said:Wife Justine is 'an amazing person and I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to be married to her.' Credit: PA

Family, rather than politics, dominated Mr Miliband's interview on the iconic radio show.

Describing how he tried to fit school runs, nursery drop-offs and bedtime stories with sons Daniel, 4, and Samuel, 3, into his schedule, he said: "My family mean everything to me, it's the most important thing in my life."

Wife Justine is "an amazing person and I feel incredibly blessed and lucky to be married to her", he said. "From the first time I met her I knew there was something very special about her." He did, however, admit that she sometimes jokes that she would have an easier, but less interesting, life if she had married someone else.

Challenged over his decision not to marry until they had two children and he was leader of the opposition, Mr Miliband said: "We always said we would get married at some point... We did it in what you might call a 21st century way."

Mr Miliband revealed that he did not have any "serious" girlfriends until after leaving Oxford University aged 22 in 1992, admitting: "I was pretty square."