I regret the stress, anxiety and nightmare I caused by parading my wife at party conferences, says former Labour leader Ed Miliband
- Ex-Labour leader, 49, says bringing wife Justine Thornton on stage was bad idea
- He told Alistair and daughter Grace Campbell’s podcast he regrets decision
- Comes after Corbyn applauded not for involving wife Laura in campaigns
Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has revealed he regrets using his wife as a political prop on the campaign trail and the ‘stress, anxiety and nightmare’ his job was for the family.
Miliband, 49, said bringing his wife Justine Thornton on stage after a party conference speech was a mistake and that it ‘took him too long to realise’.
The politician also said he ‘underestimated the nightmare’ his position was for his wife, who works as a High Court judge.
He made the revelations in a candid interview on a new podcast hosted by former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell and his activist daughter Grace.
Ed Miliband, 40, said bringing his wife Justine Thornton (pictured with him) on stage after a party conference speech was a mistake and that it ‘took him too long to realise’
The couple are pictured together at an event in London in September 2015
Miliband told Football, Feminism and Everything in Between: ‘If I did it again, I would do it differently. Things like Justine coming up on stage after a Party Conference speech – I should not have done that.
‘I also underestimated the stress, anxiety and the nightmare it was for Justine.
‘Partly caused by watching the person you love go through being leader.
‘You care so deeply about the person but there is nothing you can do about what you are going through; when things went wrong, ups and downs, she could not do that much about it.
‘It is intrinsically hard. It must be hard for Phillip May now. I was not appreciative enough and she was expected to be there at all these events.
‘My team did their best to support her, but I was not cognizant enough of it.
He made the revelations in a candid interview on a new podcast hosted by former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell (right) and his activist daughter Grace (left)
‘There is a lot of downside to being in the frontline, you know that. The pressure does take its toll on me and my family.’
His comments come after current leader Jeremy Corbyn was praised for not involving his wife Laura Alvarez in his campaigning.
Implying Corbyn is taking the right approach, Miliband added: ‘Laura is not part of his entourage – he doesn’t do that.’
Miliband praised moves made to increase female representation in Parliament, and says it had a significant impact on debated issues such as domestic violence and period poverty.
He hopes to see a woman as Labour leader, revealing: ‘Harriet [Harman] has talked about how she could have stood and didn’t and maybe if she had been a man she would have done.’
His comments come after current leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured after placing his vote in his north London constituency this morning) was praised for not involving his wife Laura Alvarez in his campaigning
Miliband also described his political regrets, saying his agenda was not bold enough and praising Corbyn for being bolder.
He said: ‘We are in an era when people want greater boldness. You can like the vision or not, but Jeremy Corbyn offered a bolder vision.’
The same approach lay behind the relative success of protest movement Extinction Rebellion, he said.
The interview took place on the fourth anniversary of the 2015 election Miliband lost to David Cameron.
The 49-year-old said the loss led to ‘a form of grief and took him a year to eighteen months before he could begin to focus on the future’.
He added: ‘The biggest question is can you keep learning, do you have enough humility to keep learning?’