David Miliband tells Goldsmiths students Lib Dems have ‘had it’ as he kicks off his university tour

Pic: Tomas Jivanda

The Liberal Democrats are only “half a party” and “they’ve had it”, David Miliband told Goldsmiths students on Wednesday.

The former foreign secretary and Labour MP for South Shields – who was taking part in an open question and answer session with 300 students at Goldsmiths – also said that Labour have not yet secured a victory in the next general election.

Miliband said: “If you say to me now, have we won the next general election, I would definitely say no.”

He revealed that he is undecided on whether he will make a return to the front bench as he enjoyed being a government minister.

Miliband told the audience that he had a “warm and brotherly” relationship with his brother, Ed Miliband- who beat him in the 2010 Labour Party leadership elections.

When asked a question that placed him as the hypothetical leader of the Labour party, the MP joked: “We tried that two years ago and it didn’t work.”

To win the next general election, Miliband said  the party needs to transform a “broken” political system and have the best ideas and policies .

Miliband’s visit to Goldsmiths was the first stop in his university tour this academic year, and he answered questions from students on a wide range of issues, including international affairs and the current state of politics.

When talking about the UK’s relationship with the rest of the world, Miliband condemned the UKBA’s decision to revoke the London Metropolitan University’s right to sponsor international students.  An EastLondonLines report on this can be found here.

After calling himself a “firm internationalist”, he said that the government’s decision on London Met was like “cutting off their nose to spite their face”.

Miliband said that the world should be more interdependent and the previous Labour government had the “balance right” when it came down to international affairs.

He said: “You can’t just say what goes on in another country is none of my business.”

In comparison to the work of the coalition government, he said: “I would put more emphasis on European nations acting together and less on commercial diplomacy.”

Miliband was born in London in 1965 to a Belgian father and Polish mother and described his upbrining as “very lucky”.

He said: “I was brought up in a relatively secure household but could see around me a divided society.”

This experience played an important role in defining his politics, Miliband told students.

He said: “The fate of where you were born was much more fixed 30/40 years ago but life isn’t fate anymore”

Dr Simon Griffiths, who chaired the Q&A, said he was “delighted” to have David Miliband speak at Goldsmiths.

He said: “The debate was sometimes fiery, yet David was frank and open in his answers.”

Jamie Pit, 19, Economics and Politics student at Goldsmiths attended the Q&A. He told eastlondonlines: “I think David Miliband is really on the ball. I think he should be the leader of the Labour party, he’s more of a leader than his brother.”

The event was co-hosted by Goldsmiths Labour Students society and Goldsmiths Politics department.

By Chloe Hirst and Tomas Jivanda

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