Profile: Former Labour leader and new shadow business secretary Ed Miliband

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband has returned to the Opposition front bench after an almost five-year hiatus.

But the 50-year-old, who has accepted the position of shadow business secretary in new leader Sir Keir Starmer’s first shadow cabinet, still managed to spend much of his backbench years in the public eye.

He enjoyed time in the media spotlight, having stood in for BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine on his talk show on a number of occasions – a gig that encouraged him to co-found the popular podcast, Reasons To Be Cheerful.

It was announced after the December election defeat that Mr Miliband would be part of a panel leading a review into the poor showing by Labour, a result that saw seats in the party’s industrial heartlands switch to the Conservatives.

Following the Leave result at the referendum, he was one of the most senior party figures to call for his successor, Jeremy Corbyn, to resign.

During his time as leader, Mr Miliband was dubbed “Red Ed” by the tabloid newspapers, although he led a more moderate party than Mr Corbyn, who has been replaced by Sir Keir after guiding Labour to its worst general election defeat since 1935.

In the run up to his May 2015 election defeat, Mr Miliband’s public perception was dogged by what were perceived to be embarrassing photos of him eating a bacon sandwich and the revelation he had two kitchens in his north London mansion.

Theresa May was later accused of making a number of his policies her own when she became Tory prime minister in 2017, opting to cap energy prices and abolish estate agent fees for renters.

The father-of-two was elected MP for Doncaster North in 2005, having previously served as an adviser in the Treasury, where Gordon Brown was chancellor.

Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband

When Mr Brown entered Downing Street in 2007, Mr Miliband was promoted to the cabinet, first as a Cabinet Office minister and later as secretary of state at the newly-created Department of Energy and Climate Change, which has since been subsumed into the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) department which he will shadow in his new brief.

The Oxford graduate controversially won the 2010 leadership contest due to trade union backing, despite MPs and party members preferring his brother and rival David Miliband.

It would tee-up the criticism, expressed by then prime minister David Cameron, that Ed had “knifed” his older brother David to get the top job.

Mr Miliband would reform the Labour leadership rules as a result, moving to the system of “one member, one vote” to avoid such future controversies.

But some critics credit those changes with opening the door to a left-wing takeover, with tens of thousands of people paying £3 to become “registered supporters” so they could vote for Mr Corbyn in the 2015 leadership contest, following Mr Miliband’s decision to stand down in the wake of the election defeat in the same year.