Alastair Campbell’s swipe at Ed Miliband as he wishes ‘he’d backed David’

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Mr Campbell delivered the ultimate snub to Mr Miliband, who is now the Shadow Business Secretary, during an episode of ITV’s Love Your Weekend with TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, set to air on Sunday. The former Labour spin doctor reached the height of his career under Prime Minister Tony Blair at the turn of the century. Under his watch, the party entered its ‘New Labour’ phase, leaving behind its traditional socialist roots, moving to appeal to a swathe of middle class voters up and down the country.

It worked: Mr Blair won every election between 1997 and 2007.

Later in his career, Mr Campbell helped Mr Miliband in his campaign to become Prime Minister in the 2015 general election.

He had successfully beaten his older brother, David, to the party’s leadership challenge in 2010.

However, he failed to warm to the public during the next five years, with Tory Prime Minister David Cameron decisively defeating him in an election that became the precursor for Brexit.

Now, Mr Campbell revealed that he wished he had helped the elder Miliband as Labour’s odds could have swung the other way, ahead of the publication of his new book, ‘Alastair Campbell Diaries: Volume 8 Rise and Fall of the Olympic Spirit, 2010–2015’.

Asked about his own career and if he’d do anything differently looking back, he said: “Not in the big picture, no. If you think about it, we were in opposition, we wanted to become the Government.

“Let me tell you this, if you go back over the last 11 elections in this country, from a Labour perspective, the result goes as follows, lost, lost, lost, lost, Blair, Blair, Blair, lost, lost, lost, lost.

“Winning three elections is hard. Winning three elections means you’re doing an awful lot right, as well as the stuff people want to focus on that maybe goes wrong.

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“So I would say on the big picture no.

“And the guilt that I talk about [in the diary], and it is a sort of feeling of guilt – even though I’m not a Catholic, I do A-Level guilt – and I did feel that I wish I’d done more to help David.”

Pushed on whether Labour might have been more successful if David had been leader, he said: “We can’t know, but I think you can certainly argue that it’s possible.

“I like Ed a lot and he’s got a lot of qualities, but sometimes this happens in politics, the public just decided early on, something’s not right, we’re not having it.

“Ed, he never really got over that.

“Right up to the election it felt like he might win, but then on the day, it went away.”

On the day before the 2015 election, Mr Campbell appeared in front of an audience at the British Media Awards.

He slammed much of the newspaper coverage of Mr Miliband’s campaign at the time as “beyond parody” and criticised broadcasters for following print’s agenda.


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After defending Mr Blair’s relationship with Rupert Murdoch’s News UK titles, Mr Campbell said: “When you look at the way some of our newspapers have covered this general election they are frankly beyond parody.

“If they were to have the influence they think they should have then …David Cameron is home tomorrow night with a majority of 450.”

“My complaint about newspapers has never been that they are biased, I was a very biased journalist on the Daily Mirror; my complaint has often been to the broadcasters to allow that bias to impact on them.”

In that election, Mr Cameron secured 36 percent of voter share, while Mr Miliband managed just 30 percent.

Mr Campbell said he remains fond of Mr Miliband, yet the former journalist hasn’t been afraid to mince his words.

In 2018, he interviewed the politician for GQ Magazine and challenged him over his newfound passion for podcasting.

Mr Miliband set up “Reasons to be Cheerful” with radio host Geoff Lloyd in August 2017.

Mr Campbell asked: “So, the leader of the Labour Party in our system, if this was football, you have Chelsea, Man City up here, where there is a backbench MP for Doncaster doing a bit of podcasting and trying to stay relevant?”

Mr Miliband replied: “Oh I don’t think I’d make that sort of comparison.

“I’m actually getting quite a lot out of what I’m doing at the moment.”

Last April, the former leader was promoted to the frontbench of Sir Keir Starmer’s Shadow Cabinet.

Many have since compared the two, with Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham, having described Sir Keir to as Labour’s “continuity Miliband”.

‘Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs Sunday at 10am on ITV. Catch up on ITV Hub’

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