Goodbye for now: Ed Miliband after he announced his resignation as Labour leader in May © Bloomberg

One senior figure has stayed silent amid the increasingly acrimonious race to run the Labour party: Ed Miliband, the former leader, who is on holiday in Australia.

But Mr Miliband is the subject of growing hostility from colleagues who blame him for a change in the electoral rules that has helped left-field candidate Jeremy Corbyn into pole position.

“That rules change was mad,” said one member of the shadow cabinet. “It was a terrible mistake.”

Graham Stringer, a backbench MP, said the rules change was Mr Miliband’s worst legacy: “Worse even than leading us to election defeat.”

Mr Miliband was called “Red Ed” in the some sections of the press for seeking to marry New Labour centrism with a more radical leftwing platform.

He led Labour to its worst defeat for more than two decades in May, ending up with fewer seats than before and watching the Conservatives win a majority in parliament.

Now some Blairite figures in the party are blaming him for overseeing a shift to the left under his 2010-15 leadership — attracting large numbers of new, more radical members.

“I blame Ed for starting this idea that New Labour was wrong and anti-Labour, and changing the party on the basis of that,” said one Labour MP. “Things have spiralled from there.”

Many of Mr Corbyn’s younger supporters appear to have been attracted to the party by Mr Miliband, who garnered an unexpectedly enthusiastic following among some young voters who called themselves “Milifans”.

At a recent rally in Cardiff, the Financial Times spoke to several prospective Corbyn voters who said they had been brought in by what they saw as Mr Miliband’s principled leadership of the party.

Chris Thomas, 30, from Bridgend, said: “I thought Ed Miliband was good, I really liked him.”

But his friend, Owain Hepple, 22, thought Mr Corbyn might be able to make up for some of Mr Miliband’s deficiencies.

“The rightwing media made Ed Miliband out to be a clown, but I think he would have made some radical decisions,” Mr Hepple said, approvingly. “He was very likeable but he didn’t seem to have the charisma in the end. I think Jeremy might be the man to do it.”

Mr Miliband resigned within hours of electoral defeat before flying to Ibiza for a holiday with his wife.

Since then he has avoided interviews and has confined his Twitter musings to issues such as tax credits, low pay and low-carbon energy.

Mr Miliband’s spokesman said the MP would not intervene in the contest, in contrast to his elder brother David, who lost out in the 2010 leadership contest.

“Ed will not be intervening in this contest as he has said right from the start,” the spokesman said. “He is following established precedent and believes the debate must play out between the candidates.”

David Miliband, former foreign secretary, warned that a leadership win by Mr Corbyn would lead to Tory one-party rule.

Atul Hatwal, editor of the Labour Uncut political website, described Mr Miliband’s refusal to comment on the leadership comment as “indescribably rubbish”.

Yet that stance has been welcomed by some MPs who blame the former leader for ltheir worst election result since 1992. One MP said: “Ed got us into this mess in the first place. The best thing he could do now is shut up.”

But another said there was “palpable anger” about Mr Miliband’s refusal to admit his mistakes in the run-up to the general election.

“He hasn’t apologised to anyone, he hasn’t admitted that he was wrong, he led us down a cul-de-sac and then just waltzed off all Zen as always,” he said.

Get alerts on Labour Party UK when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article