Is Blair try­ing to get Miliband to re­turn and res­cue Labour?

The Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Glen Owen and Bren­dan Car­lin

DAVID Miliband is at the cen­tre of mount­ing spec­u­la­tion that he could be per­suaded to make a dra­matic re­turn to Bri­tish pol­i­tics as part of a new Blairite po­lit­i­cal move­ment.

The for­mer Labour For­eign Sec­re­tary, who cur­rently works in Amer­ica, has held a se­ries of meet­ings with Tony Blair in re­cent months – while both Mr Miliband and the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter have been in con­tact with Labour donors alien­ated by the lead­er­ship of Jeremy Cor­byn.

They are un­der­stood to in­clude Sir Trevor Chinn, a bil­lion­aire who do­nated gen­er­ously to Mr Blair’s pri­vate of­fice while in Gov­ern­ment, and Jonathan Gold­stein, chief ex­ec­u­tive of fi­nanciers Cain In­ter­na­tional. Mr Gold­stein has held meet­ings with Tony Blair at least four times over the past six months, and has also flown out to see Mr Miliband in New York. Sir Trevor is also thought to have been in touch with Mr Miliband.

The in­trigue comes as Mr Miliband is thought to be con­sid­er­ing a re­turn to Lon­don af­ter five years as Pres­i­dent of In­ter­na­tional Res­cue Com­mit­tee, a New York-based aid or­gan­i­sa­tion.

A source close to the dis­cus­sions said Mr Blair ‘talks about lit­tle else other than the need for a new force in Bri­tish poli- tics’, adding: ‘David Miliband is the fig­ure who tow­ers above all oth­ers as the per­son who could lead a new cen­tre-left party.’

The source added: ‘Tony and Trevor are both con­vinced by David – but they dif­fer on whether there is room for a cen­trist party in to­day’s po­lit­i­cal cli­mate. They are in­tent on wait­ing for the col­lapse of the Cor­byn project – and then they aim to sweep in.’

Mr Miliband aban­doned his Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal ca­reer af­ter los­ing the Labour lead­er­ship con­test to brother Ed in 2010.

A friend said: ‘David is al­ways think­ing about what’s best for his coun­try and the Labour Party. His heart and pas­sion is still the fu­ture of the UK.’

Asked whether Mr Miliband would seek to re­turn to ‘res­cue’ the Labour Party or to help set up a new one, he said: ‘I hon­estly don’t know.

‘There’s a group in the party now talk­ing about a third way, a dif­fer­ent party. They have to­tally given up on re­cov­er­ing the party. Whether that will in­clude David, I can’t say.’

SPEC­U­LA­TION: David Miliband

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