David Miliband’s previous with peer picked to unite anti-Brexit tribes

Written by David Singleton on 18 December 2017 in Diary

The former foreign secretary did not appreciate Mark Malloch-Brown’s grandstanding.

The news that pro-Remain groups have selected former senior UN diplomat Mark Malloch-Brown to lead the fight against Brexit has raised a few eyebrows.

At present, campaigning to soften the blow of Brexit is split between Open Britain, Best for Britain and the European Movement. But as of 2018 Lord Malloch-Brown will play a lead role in coordinating the various anti-Brexit movements, according to The Guardian's Patrick Wintour.

“There will not necessarily be a big bang launch, but the new year is likely to see a much more coordinated campaign and a more coherent, consistent message. It will be both more pocketbook and more emotional, looking at issues like the risk to the NHS,” said the peer.

Leading Remainers such as Nick Clegg have long called for greater-coordination, but Remain-supporting Guardian columnist Matthew d’Ancona is not convinced that a former UN deputy secretary general who has also worked at the World Bank and in political consultancy is the right man to unite the tribes.

“The recruitment of @malloch_brown to win public opinion back to Remain is the best news the Brexiteers have had since June 23, 2016. The very incarnation of what made people vote Leave in the first place,” tweeted d'Ancona in response to his colleague’s scoop.

Former colleagues of the high-flying peer may just be hoping he does a better job of bringing people together when Gordon Brown made him a Foreign Office minister in 2007.

Back then, Lord Malloch-Brown immediately irked his new boss David Miliband by saying in an interview that he would be “the wise eminence behind the young foreign secretary”.

In his memoirs, Brown laments that “their relationship did not get off to the best start”.




Picture by: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images

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