Ed Miliband says he regrets taking part in an interview with Russell Brand before the 2015 election
- Comedian Russell Brand, 48, was accused of sexual assault earlier this week
Ed Miliband last night finally said he regrets taking part in an interview with Russell Brand shortly before the 2015 election.
The former Labour leader said he had appeared on the comedian’s YouTube channel The Trews to court the younger voters and that he felt ‘duty bound’ to counter Brand’s views on not voting.
The cringeworthy interview conducted in Brand’s kitchen saw Mr Miliband ridiculed for adopting a nasal mockney accent in an attempt to clinch the youth vote.
After self-styled political guru Brand was accused of being a rapist at the weekend, Labour came under five days of pressure to admit the folly of Mr Miliband aligning himself with him.
Asked last night whether he regretted the interview Mr Miliband, who is now Labour’s energy security and net zero spokesman, said: ‘Yes, of course.’
The cringeworthy interview conducted in Brand’s kitchen saw Mr Miliband ridiculed for adopting a nasal mockney accent in an attempt to clinch the youth vote
Ed Milliband arrives in Westminster on September 4, 2023. Milliband on Wednesday said it was a ‘mistake’ for the then Labour leader to be interviewed on Brand’s channel, The Trews
Speaking at an event hosted by the Politico website, he added: ‘I think the allegations that have come to light are horrific and my solidarity is with the women who have come forward to tell their stories. I did lots of interview during that campaign. Russell Brand was going round saying people shouldn’t vote. I went and did an interview on his programme because I wanted young people to get out and vote.
‘But obviously knowing what I know now, obviously I regret doing it.’
READ MORE: BBC director-general Tim Davie says he has asked himself if he could ‘have done more’ over Russell Brand’s time at the Beeb – and says issue of bad sexual behaviour in TV is not just in the past
Put to him that some would say it showed a lack of judgment, Mr Miliband replied: ‘Look, hindsight is a wonderful thing. As I say, I did lots and lots of interviews.
‘This was someone who was gaining notoriety at that point for saying to people, ‘Do not vote because it will make no difference’. And I felt duty-bound, if there was an opportunity to do so, to say to young people in particular, who he was targeting … that it would make a difference.’
Earlier in the day Labour’s business spokesman Jonathan Reynolds had admitted it was a ‘mistake’ for Mr Miliband to be interviewed by Brand.
Mr Reynolds told Sky News: ‘In hindsight, I wish it had never happened. Looking at the events of the past week, if any person who has bravely come forward and talked about what has happened to them felt that that interview made that worse in some way, I would regret that.’
He added that he was sorry and it was ‘a mistake’.
Despite boasting of having sex with 80 women a month, being sacked from the BBC and accused of misogyny, Brand was feted by the Left. He was invited to guest-edit the New Statesman magazine in 2013 and for years was commissioned to write for the Guardian newspaper, whose columnist Owen Jones claimed Brand’s endorsement of Labour in 2015 should ‘worry’ the Tories.
This week Mr Jones tweeted ‘I regret that’, saying he had thought ‘all credit to the man for making politics seem sexy to teenagers’.
Brand categorically denies claims he raped a woman and sexually assaulted and emotionally abused others between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame, after an investigation by the Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches prompted a string of women to come forward.
Russell Brand has been accused of rape, assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013, when he was at the height of his fame. He denies the allegations (pictured in 2017)
Russell Brand denied allegations of improper conduct in a video shared online before Channel 4’s Dispatches aired on Sunday
One claims she was 16 when Brand sent a BBC chauffeur to collect her from school for sex.
Brand blames a ‘mainstream media’ conspiracy for the claims and says he has evidence to refute the accusations.
Since the allegations were made public on Saturday, Dispatches claims to have received new complaints about the star, which programme chiefs say they are investigating.
The scandal has triggered a firestorm of cancellations, with publishers, agents and streaming giants cutting ties with Brand. His latest stand-up show has been postponed and yesterday his Australian tour was cancelled before even being announced.
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